• synonyms


  1. a flat plate in a printing press for pressing the paper against the inked type or plate to produce an impression.
  2. a rotating cylinder used for the same purpose.
  3. the roller of a typewriter.
  4. (on a planing machine or the like) the bed to which the work is fastened.
  5. (on a testing machine) a plate for applying compression to a sample.
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Origin of platen

1400–50; earlier platyne, late Middle English plateyne chalice cover < Middle French platine. See plate1, -ine1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for platen

Historical Examples of platen

  • The lower side of the platen was covered with a soft "packing" or "blanket" of cloth.

    The Building of a Book


  • In others, the platen was hinged to the bed, but in all of them the mechanism was complicated.

  • The idea of replacing the platen by a cylinder was not a new one.

  • The platen had a spiral groove on its surface, like the disk.

    Edison, His Life and Inventions

    Frank Lewis Dyer and Thomas Commerford Martin

  • With platen presses the first pressing may be done by screws, but the final pressing should be accomplished by hydraulic presses.

British Dictionary definitions for platen


  1. a flat plate in a printing press that presses the paper against the type
  2. the roller on a typewriter, against which the keys strike
  3. the worktable of a machine tool, esp one that is slotted to enable T-bolts to be used
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Word Origin for platen

C15: from Old French platine, from plat flat; see 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 platen


1540s, from Middle French plateine, from Old French platine "flat piece, metal plate" (13c.), perhaps altered (by influence of plat "flat") from patene, from Latin patena "pan."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper