[ plot ]
See synonyms for: plotplottedplotting on

  1. a secret plan or scheme to accomplish some purpose, especially a hostile, unlawful, or evil purpose: a plot to overthrow the government.

  2. Also called storyline. the plan, scheme, or main story of a literary or dramatic work, as a play, novel, or short story.

  1. a small piece or area of ground: a garden plot;burial plot.

  2. a measured piece or parcel of land: a house on a two-acre plot.

  3. a plan, map, diagram, or other graphic representation, as of land, a building, etc.

  4. a list, timetable, or scheme dealing with any of the various arrangements for the production of a play, motion picture, etc.: According to the property plot, there should be a lamp stage left.

  5. a chart showing the course of a craft, as a ship or airplane.

  6. Artillery. a point or points located on a map or chart: target plot.

verb (used with object),plot·ted, plot·ting.
  1. to plan secretly, especially something hostile or evil: to plot mutiny.

  2. to mark on a plan, map, or chart, as the course of a ship or aircraft.

  1. to draw a plan or map of, as a tract of land or a building.

  2. to divide (land) into plots.

  3. to determine and mark (points), as on plotting paper, by means of measurements or coordinates.

  4. to draw (a curve) by means of points so marked.

  5. to represent by means of such a curve.

  6. to devise or construct the plot of (a play, novel, etc.).

  7. to prepare a list, timetable, or scheme of (production arrangements), as for a play or motion picture:The stage manager hadn't plotted the set changes until one day before the dress rehearsal.

  8. to make (a calculation) by graph.

verb (used without object),plot·ted, plot·ting.
  1. to plan or scheme secretly; form a plot; conspire.

  2. to devise or develop a literary or dramatic plot.

  1. to be marked or located by means of measurements or coordinates, as on plotting paper.

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.

word story For 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.

Other words for plot

Other words from plot

  • plot·ful, adjective
  • plot·less, adjective
  • plot·less·ness, noun
  • out·plot, verb (used with object), out·plot·ted, out·plot·ting.
  • o·ver·plot, verb, o·ver·plot·ted, o·ver·plot·ting.
  • pre·plot, verb (used with object), pre·plot·ted, pre·plot·ting.
  • re·plot, verb (used with object), re·plot·ted, re·plot·ting.
  • un·plot·ted, adjective
  • un·plot·ting, adjective
  • well-plot·ted, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use plot in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for plot (1 of 2)


/ (plɒt) /

  1. a secret plan to achieve some purpose, esp one that is illegal or underhand: a plot to overthrow the government

  2. the story or plan of a play, novel, etc

  1. military a graphic representation of an individual or tactical setting that pinpoints an artillery target

  2. mainly US a diagram or plan, esp a surveyor's map

  3. lose the plot informal to lose one's ability or judgment in a given situation

verbplots, plotting or plotted
  1. to plan secretly (something illegal, revolutionary, etc); conspire

  2. (tr) to mark (a course, as of a ship or aircraft) on a map

  1. (tr) to make a plan or map of

    • to locate and mark (one or more points) on a graph by means of coordinates

    • to draw (a curve) through these points

  2. (tr) to construct the plot of (a literary work)

Origin of plot

C16: from plot ², influenced in use by complot

British Dictionary definitions for plot (2 of 2)


/ (plɒt) /

  1. a small piece of land: a vegetable plot

verbplots, plotting or plotted
  1. (tr) to arrange or divide (land) into plots

Origin of 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.