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[pluhg] /plʌg/
a piece of wood or other material used to stop up a hole or aperture, to fill a gap, or to act as a wedge.
a core or interior segment taken from a larger matrix.
Electricity. a device to which may be attached the conductors of a cord and which by insertion in a jack, or screwing into a receptacle, establishes contact.
spark plug (def 1).
a fireplug or hydrant.
a cake of pressed tobacco.
a piece of tobacco cut off for chewing.
Informal. the favorable mention of something, as in a lecture, radio show, etc.; advertisement; recommendation:
The actress was happy to give her new show a plug.
Angling. an artificial lure made of wood, plastic, or metal, and fitted with one or more gang hooks, used chiefly in casting.
Geology. neck (def 14).
Slang. a worn-out or inferior horse.
Informal. a shopworn or unsalable article.
a small piece of sod used especially for seeding a lawn.
a patch of scalp with viable hair follicles that is used as a graft for a bald part of the head.
Compare hair transplant.
Slang. punch1 (def 1).
  1. a mandrel on which tubes are formed.
  2. a punch on which a cup is drawn.
  3. a protrusion on a forging die for forming a recess in the work.
  4. a false bottom on a die.
Also called dook. a small piece of wood inserted into masonry as a hold for a nail.
Masonry. See under plug and feathers.
Also called plug hat. a man's tall silk hat.
verb (used with object), plugged, plugging.
to stop or fill with or as if with a plug (often followed by up):
to plug up a leak; plug a gap.
to insert or drive a plug into.
to secure with or as if with a plug.
to insert (something) as a plug.
to remove a core or a small plug-shaped piece from.
to remove the center of (a coin) and replace it with a baser metal:
a plugged nickel.
Informal. to mention (something) favorably, as in a lecture, radio show, etc.:
He says he will appear if he can plug his new TV series.
Slang. to punch with the fist.
Slang. to shoot or strike with a bullet.
verb (used without object), plugged, plugging.
to work with stubborn persistence (often followed by along or away):
You're doing a fine job—just keep plugging. Some writers will plug away at the same novel for several years.
Informal. to publicize insistently:
Whenever he gets the chance, he's plugging for his company.
Slang. to shoot or fire shots.
Verb phrases
plug in,
  1. to connect to an electrical power source:
    Plug the TV set in over there.
  2. Informal. to add or include; incorporate:
    They still have to plug in more research data.
plug into,
  1. to connect or become connected by or as if by means of a plug:
    The device will plug into any convenient wall outlet. The proposed new departments would eventually plug into the overall organizational plan.
  2. Informal. to feel an affinity for; like; understand:
    Some kids just don't plug into sports in school.
plug up, to become plugged:
The drain in the sink plugs up every so often.
pull the plug on, Informal.
  1. to discontinue or terminate:
    The government has threatened to pull the plug on further subsidies.
  2. to disconnect life-sustaining equipment from (a moribund patient).
Origin of plug
1620-30; < Dutch; cognate with German Pflock
Related forms
pluggable, adjective
pluggingly, adverb
plugless, adjective
pluglike, adjective

plug and feathers

an apparatus for splitting stone, consisting of two tapered bars (feathers) inserted into a hole drilled into the stone, between which a narrow wedge (plug) is hammered to spread them.
First recorded in 1835-45 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for plug
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Where two anvils were to be had, the cannonade was much brisker, as then a plug was not needed.

  • The ordinary "plug hat" was known to these people, but not an opera hat.

    The Leopard Woman Stewart Edward White
  • And I remember what a plug we thought my room-mate was because he wouldn't come with us.

    The Fortune Hunter Louis Joseph Vance
  • His other feats were the introduction of the pipe into England and the plug into Ireland.

  • I managed to plug three of them and I guess they thought I was a dozen men.

    Poisoned Air Sterner St. Paul Meek
British Dictionary definitions for plug


a piece of wood, cork, or other material, often cylindrical in shape, used to stop up holes and gaps or as a wedge for taking a screw or nail
such a stopper used esp to close the waste pipe of a bath, basin, or sink while it is in use and removed to let the water drain away
a device having one or more pins to which an electric cable is attached: used to make an electrical connection when inserted into a socket
Also called volcanic plug. a mass of solidified magma filling the neck of an extinct volcano
  1. a cake of pressed or twisted tobacco, esp for chewing
  2. a small piece of such a cake
(angling) a weighted artificial lure with one or more sets of hooks attached, used in spinning
a seedling with its roots encased in potting compost, grown in a tray with compartments for each individual plant
(informal) a recommendation or other favourable mention of a product, show, etc, as on television, on radio, or in newspapers
(slang) a shot, blow, or punch (esp in the phrase take a plug at)
(informal) the mechanism that releases water to flush a lavatory (esp in the phrase pull the plug)
(mainly US) an old horse
(informal) pull the plug on, to put a stop to
verb plugs, plugging, plugged
(transitive) to stop up or secure (a hole, gap, etc) with or as if with a plug
(transitive) to insert or use (something) as a plug: to plug a finger into one's ear
(transitive) (informal) to make favourable and often-repeated mentions of (a song, product, show, etc), esp on television, on radio, or in newspapers
(transitive) (slang) to shoot with a gun: he plugged six rabbits
(transitive) (slang) to punch or strike
(intransitive; foll by along, away, etc) (informal) to work steadily or persistently
Derived Forms
plugger, noun
Word Origin
C17: from Middle Dutch plugge; related to Middle Low German plugge, German Pflock
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 plug

1620s, originally a seamen's term, probably from Dutch plug, Middle Dutch plugge "bung, stopper," related to Norwegian plugg, Danish pløg, North Frisian plaak, Middle Low German pluck, German Pflock; ultimate origin uncertain. Irish and Gaelic words are from English. Sense of "wad or stick of tobacco" is attested from 1728, based on resemblance. Electrical sense is from 1883, based on being inserted; meaning "sparking device in an internal combustion engine" is from 1886. Meaning "advertisement" first recorded 1902, American English, perhaps from verb sense "work energetically at" (c.1865).


"close tightly (a hole), fill," 1620s, from plug (n.) or from Dutch pluggen. Meaning "work energetically at" is c.1865. Sense of "popularize by repetition" is from 1906. Slang sense "put a bullet into" is recorded from 1870. Related: Plugged; plugging.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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plug in Medicine

plug (plŭg)
A dense mass of material filling a hole or closing an orifice. v. plugged, plug·ging, plugs
To fill tightly with a plug.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Slang definitions & phrases for plug

plug 1


  1. An inferior old horse; nag (1860+)
  2. An average or inferior prizefighter (1915+)

[perhaps fr Dutch plug, ''a sorry nag,'' related to Swiss-German pflag and to Danish plag, ''foal'']

plug 2


(also plugged)Worthless; phony: And furthermore the author does not give a plug damn (1888+)


Asilverdollar (1900+)


  1. To shoot, esp shoot to death: The mugger got plugged by an indignant on-looker (1870+)
  2. To do the sex act to; boff, poke, screw (1901+)

Related Terms

pull the plug, spark plug

[all senses fr the notion of plug as hole-filler; the second sense may be influenced by the notion of inferiority in plug1]

plug 3


Positive publicity: I certainly would appreciate him giving me a plug with the owners (1902+)


  1. (also plug along or plug away)To work or study steadilyand fairly hard;keep busybut not excitinglyso: She's plugging away, though (1888+)
  2. To give a flattering appraisal, esp with a view to selling something; advocate and support; cry up: Cosmetic manufacturers plugged products to give women ersatz tan/ If you'll plug my book, I'll plug yours (1906+)

[fr Oxford University slang, apparently in imitation of heavy ploddingsteps,orperhapsthestepsofanoldandtired horse; sense of selling or advocating fr the fact that such commendation was originally constant and repetitive]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with plug


In addition to the idiom beginning with
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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