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[plak] /plæk/
a thin, flat plate or tablet of metal, porcelain, etc., intended for ornament, as on a wall, or set in a piece of furniture.
an inscribed commemorative tablet, usually of metal placed on a building, monument, or the like.
a platelike brooch or ornament, especially one worn as the badge of an honorary order.
Anatomy, Pathology. a flat, often raised, patch on the skin or other organ, as on the inner lining of arterial walls in atherosclerosis.
Dentistry. a soft, sticky, whitish matlike film attached to tooth surfaces, formed largely by the growth of bacteria that colonize the teeth.
Bacteriology. a cleared region in a bacterial culture, resulting from lysis of bacteria by bacteriophages.
Origin of plaque
1840-50; < French, noun derivative of plaquer to plate < Middle Dutch placken to patch; cf. placket
Can be confused
plague, plaque. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for plaque
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • There was not even a book for her to replace, or a plaque to tuck away.

    The Silver Poppy Arthur Stringer
  • This plaque has furnished the simple yet sufficient title for this volume.

    Michael Faraday

    Walter Jerrold
  • This plaque was stolen, I believe, while the other riches were gifts from King Montezuma.

    Roger the Bold F. S. Brereton
  • Yes, gentles and people, I commend this plaque to your careful attention.

    Roger the Bold F. S. Brereton
  • Roger took the plaque and spread out the roll of parchment attached.

    Roger the Bold F. S. Brereton
  • "Then there is truth in this plaque," said the earl, showing some trace of excitement.

    Roger the Bold F. S. Brereton
British Dictionary definitions for plaque


/plæk; plɑːk/
an ornamental or commemorative inscribed tablet or plate of porcelain, wood, etc
a small flat brooch or badge, as of a club, etc
(pathol) any small abnormal patch on or within the body, such as the typical lesion of psoriasis
short for dental plaque
(bacteriol) a clear area within a bacterial or tissue culture caused by localized destruction of the cells by a bacteriophage or other virus
Word Origin
C19: from French, from plaquier to plate, from Middle Dutch placken to beat (metal) into a thin plate
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 plaque

1848, "ornamental plate or tablet," from French plaque "metal plate, coin" (15c.), perhaps through Flemish placke "small coin," from Middle Dutch placke "disk, patch, stain," related to German Placken "spot, patch" (cf. placard). Meaning "deposit on walls of arteries" is first attested 1891; that of "bacteria deposits on teeth" is 1898.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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plaque in Medicine

plaque (plāk)

  1. A small disk-shaped formation or growth; a patch.

  2. A deposit of fatty material on the inner lining of an arterial wall, characteristic of atherosclerosis.

  3. Dental plaque.

  4. A clear, often round patch of lysed cells in an otherwise opaque layer of a bacteria or cell culture.

  5. A scaly patch formed on the skin by psoriasis.

  6. A sharply defined zone of demyelination characteristic of multiple sclerosis.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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plaque in Science
  1. A small disk-shaped formation or growth; a patch.

  2. A film of mucus and bacteria on the surface of the teeth.

  3. A deposit of material in a bodily tissue or organ, especially one of the fatty deposits that collect on the inner lining of an artery wall in atherosclerosis or one of the amyloid deposits that accumulate in the brain in Alzheimer's disease.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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plaque in Culture
plaque [(plak)]

A thin film composed of bacteria, mucus, and food particles that forms on the surfaces of teeth. Plaque contributes to tooth decay and gum disease. Plaque also refers to a combination of cholesterol and lipids that can accumulate on the inside of arteries, causing atherosclerosis.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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