[ pla-toh or, especially British, plat-oh ]
/ plæˈtoʊ or, especially British, ˈplæt oʊ /

noun, plural pla·teaus, pla·teaux [pla-tohz or, especially British, plat-ohz]. /plæˈtoʊz or, especially British, ˈplæt oʊz/.

a land area having a relatively level surface considerably raised above adjoining land on at least one side, and often cut by deep canyons.
a period or state of little or no growth or decline: to reach a plateau in one's career.
Psychology. a period of little or no apparent progress in an individual's learning, marked by an inability to increase speed, reduce number of errors, etc., and indicated by a horizontal stretch in a learning curve or graph.
a flat stand, as for a centerpiece, sometimes extending the full length of a table.

verb (used without object), pla·teaued, pla·teau·ing.

to reach a state or level of little or no growth or decline, especially to stop increasing or progressing; remain at a stable level of achievement; level off: After a period of uninterrupted growth, sales began to plateau.

verb (used with object), pla·teaued, pla·teau·ing.

to cause to remain at a stable level, especially to prevent from rising or progressing: Rising inflation plateaued sales income.



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Origin of plateau

1785–95; <French; Old French platel flat object, diminutive of platplate1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for plateau

British Dictionary definitions for plateau (1 of 2)

/ (ˈplætəʊ) /

noun plural -eaus or -eaux (-əʊz)

a wide mainly level area of elevated land
a relatively long period of stability; levelling offthe rising prices reached a plateau

verb (intr)

to remain at a stable level for a relatively long period

Word Origin for plateau

C18: from French, from Old French platel something flat, from plat flat; see plate

British Dictionary definitions for plateau (2 of 2)

/ (ˈplætəʊ) /


a state of central Nigeria, formed in 1976 from part of Benue-Plateau State: tin mining. Capital: Jos. Pop: 3 178 712 (2006). Area: 30 913 sq km (11 936 sq miles)
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

Scientific definitions for plateau

[ plă-tō ]

An elevated, comparatively level expanse of land. Plateaus make up about 45 percent of the Earth's land surface.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.