See more synonyms for plaque on
  1. a thin, flat plate or tablet of metal, porcelain, etc., intended for ornament, as on a wall, or set in a piece of furniture.
  2. an inscribed commemorative tablet, usually of metal placed on a building, monument, or the like.
  3. a platelike brooch or ornament, especially one worn as the badge of an honorary order.
  4. Anatomy, Pathology. a flat, often raised, patch on the skin or other organ, as on the inner lining of arterial walls in atherosclerosis.
  5. Dentistry. a soft, sticky, whitish matlike film attached to tooth surfaces, formed largely by the growth of bacteria that colonize the teeth.
  6. 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 confusedplague plaque Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for plaque

plate, medal, decoration, badge, slab, nameplate, disk, brooch, patch

Examples from the Web for plaque

Contemporary Examples of plaque

Historical Examples of plaque

  • 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

British Dictionary definitions for plaque


  1. an ornamental or commemorative inscribed tablet or plate of porcelain, wood, etc
  2. a small flat brooch or badge, as of a club, etc
  3. pathol any small abnormal patch on or within the body, such as the typical lesion of psoriasis
  4. short for dental plaque
  5. 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 for plaque

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

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

plaque in Medicine


  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.

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 © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

plaque in Culture



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 Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.