[ plot ]
/ plɒt /
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See synonyms for: plot / plotted / plotting on Thesaurus.com

verb (used with object), plot·ted, plot·ting.
verb (used without object), plot·ted, plot·ting.
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Origin of plot

First recorded before 1100; the noun has multiple origins: in the sense “piece of ground,” Middle English: “small area, patch, stain, piece of ground,” Old English: “piece of ground” (origin obscure); in the senses “ground plan, outline, map, scheme,” variant (since the 16th century) of plat1, itself partly a variant of Middle English, Old English plot; in the sense “secret plan” (from the 16th century), by association with complot; the verb is derivative of the noun

synonym study for plot

1. See conspiracy. 19. Plot, conspire, scheme imply secret, cunning, and often unscrupulous planning to gain one's own ends. To plot is to contrive a secret plan of a selfish and often treasonable kind: to plot against someone's life. To conspire is to unite with others in an illicit or illegal machination: to conspire to seize a government. To scheme is to plan ingeniously, subtly, and often craftily for one's own advantage: to scheme how to gain power.

historical usage of plot

The word plot has no known origin and exists solely in English. The noun dates from the late 10th or early 11th century and originally meant “a small piece of land or area of ground.” Plot in the sense “a small piece of land in a cemetery” was originally an Americanism and dates from the mid-19th century.
In the mid-16th century, plot was used to refer to a map, ground plan, sketch, or written outline. At about the same time, it also came to mean “a secret, usually evil plan”; the verb meaning “to plan secretly, devise” comes from that sense of the noun. Plot in the sense “a storyline or main story of a play or novel” dates from the early 17th century.


Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

How to use plot in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for plot (1 of 2)

/ (plɒt) /

verb plots, plotting or plotted

Word Origin for plot

C16: from plot ², influenced in use by complot

British Dictionary definitions for plot (2 of 2)

/ (plɒt) /

a small piece of landa vegetable plot
verb plots, plotting or plotted
(tr) to arrange or divide (land) into plots

Word Origin for plot

Old English: piece of land, plan of an area
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

Cultural definitions for plot


The organization of events in a work of fiction.

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.