- the position of a figure in a series, as in decimal notation.
- Usually places. the figures of the series.
verb (used with object), placed, plac·ing.
verb (used without object), placed, plac·ing.
- to finish among the first three competitors in a race.
- to finish second in a horse race, harness race, etc.
- place card,
- place in the sun,
- place kick,
- place mat,
- place name
- to give precedence or priority to: The old gives place to the new.
- to be succeeded or replaced by: Travel by trains has given place to travel by airplanes.
- in the correct or usual position or order: Dinner is ready and everything is in place.
- in the same spot, without advancing or retreating: Stand by your desk and jog in place for a few minutes of exercise.
- not in the correct or usual position or order: The library books are all out of place.
- unsuitable to the circumstances or surroundings; inappropriate: He had always felt out of place in an academic environment. A green suit was out of place at the funeral.
Origin of place
- an open square lined with houses of a similar type in a city or town
- (capital when part of a street name)Grosvenor Place
- a space or seat, as at a dining table
- (as modifier)place mat
- British the first, second, or third position at the finish
- US and Canadian the first or usually the second position at the finish
- (as modifier)a place bet
- (in the House of Commons) the House of Lords
- (in the House of Lords) the House of Commons
- to travel
- to become successful
- instead of; in lieu ofgo in place of my sister
- in exchange forhe gave her it in place of her ring
- (at Oxford University) Cambridge University
- (at Cambridge University) Oxford University
verb (mainly tr)
Word Origin for place
c.1200, "space, dimensional extent, room, area," from Old French place "place, spot" (12c.) and directly from Medieval Latin placea "place, spot," from Latin platea "courtyard, open space; broad way, avenue," from Greek plateia (hodos) "broad (way)," fem. of platys "broad" (see plaice).
Replaced Old English stow and stede. From mid-13c. as "particular part of space, extent, definite location, spot, site;" from early 14c. as "position or place occupied by custom, etc.; position on some social scale;" from late 14c. as "inhabited place, town, country," also "place on the surface of something, portion of something, part," also, "office, post." Meaning "group of houses in a town" is from 1580s.
Also from the same Latin source are Italian piazza, Catalan plassa, Spanish plaza, Middle Dutch plaetse, Dutch plaats, German Platz, Danish plads, Norwegian plass. Wide application in English covers meanings that in French require three words: place, lieu, and endroit. Cognate Italian piazza and Spanish plaza retain more of the etymological sense.
To take place "happen" is from mid-15c. To know (one's) place is from c.1600; hence figurative expression put (someone) in his or her place (1855). Place of worship attested from 1689, originally in official papers and in reference to assemblies of dissenters from the Church of England. All over the place "in disorder" is attested from 1923.
mid-15c., "to determine the position of;" also "to put (something somewhere)," from place (n.). In the horse racing sense of "to achieve a certain position" (usually in the top three finishers; in U.S., specifically second place) it is first attested 1924, from earlier meaning "to state the position of" (among the first three finishers), 1826. Related: Placed; placing. To take place "to happen, be accomplished" (mid-15c., earlier have place, late 14c.), translates French avoir lieu.
In the appropriate or usual position or order. For example, With everything in place, she started the slide show. [Mid-1500s] Also see put someone in his or her place.
In the same spot, without advancing or retreating, as in While marching in place, the band played six more numbers.
In addition to the idiom beginning with place
- place in the sun
- all over the place
- between a rock and a hard place
- fall in place
- friend in court (high places)
- go places
- have one's heart in the right place
- in place
- in someone's shoes (place)
- instead (in place) of
- in the first place
- jumping-off place
- know one's place
- out of place
- pride of place
- put someone in his or her place
- run in place
- take place
- take someone's place