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[pleyt, plat] /pleɪt, plæt/
a braid, especially of hair or straw.
a pleat or fold, as of cloth.
verb (used with object)
to braid, as hair or straw.
to make, as a mat, by braiding.
to pleat.
Origin of plait
1350-1400; Middle English pleyt < Middle French pleit < Latin plicitum, neuter of plicitus, past participle of plicāre to fold; see ply2
Related forms
interplait, verb (used with object) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for plait
Historical Examples
  • To avoid this, before beginning stick a pin through what is to be the top of the plait.

  • Then we can plait our ribbons at our leisure on Monday, in time for the festival on Tuesday.

  • In the old days she used to do it in one plait wound around with wampum.

    Indian Child Life Charles A. Eastman
  • They had found some long grass, which they set to work to plait.

  • For a moment I was as dumbfounded as the bridegroom who discovers a plait of hair on his brides dressing table.

    The Romance of His Life Mary Cholmondeley
  • See here, I will pin a plait over in front, and that will help it.

    A Little Girl in Old Boston Amanda Millie Douglas
  • Anyway, mother followed to unfasten her dress, to help take down her hair, to plait the mouse-coloured braids.

    Missy Dana Gatlin
  • It was for all the world as if she had bought a plait and stuck it on.

    Pixie O'Shaughnessy Mrs. George de Horne Vaizey
  • All her relations came and pulled at her hair, which fell over her shoulders, to assure themselves the plait was really undone.

    Through Finland in Carts Ethel Brilliana Alec-Tweedie
  • Hence the “seam,” the “hem,” and all the forms of stitches that bind and plait.

    Needlework As Art Marian Alford
British Dictionary definitions for plait


a length of hair, ribbon, etc, that has been plaited
(in Britain) a loaf of bread of several twisting or intertwining parts
a rare spelling of pleat
(transitive) to intertwine (strands or strips) in a pattern
Word Origin
C15 pleyt, from Old French pleit, from Latin plicāre to fold; see ply²
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for plait

late 14c., "to fold, gather in pleats," also "to braid or weave," from Old French pleir "to fold," variant of ploier, ployer "to fold, bend," from Latin plicare "to fold" (see ply (v.1)). Related: Plaited; plaiting.


c.1400, "a fold, a crease," from Anglo-French pleit, Old French ploit, earlier pleit, "fold, manner of folding," from Latin plicatus, past participle of plicare "to lay, fold, twist" (see ply (v.1)). Meaning "interlaced strands of hair, ribbon, etc." is from 1520s, perhaps from plait (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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