"The Handmaid's Tale" was required reading for many of us in school. Everyone else has probably watched the very popular and addictive TV show. Do you remember this vocabulary from the book, and do you know what these terms mean?
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Idioms for plug

    pull the plug on, Informal.
    1. to discontinue or terminate: The government has threatened to pull the plug on further subsidies.
    2. to disconnect life-sustaining equipment from (a moribund patient).

Origin of plug

1620–30; < Dutch; cognate with German Pflock


plug·ga·ble, adjectiveplug·ging·ly, adverbplug·less, adjectiveplug·like, adjective

Definition for plug (2 of 2)

plug and feathers


an apparatus for splitting stone, consisting of two tapered bars (feathers), inserted into a hole drilled into the stone, between which a narrow wedge (plug) is hammered to spread them.

Origin of plug and feathers

First recorded in 1835–45
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020


What else does plug mean?

Content warning: this article references illegal and illicit drugs.

A plug (or the plug) is a person who has the ability to get or supply hard-to-find items, especially drugs.

Where does plug come from?

The word plug made its way into the English language, likely from Dutch, as far back as the 1620s. It was a word used by sailors, as plugs can be quite useful on a boat in leaky situations.

In the 1880s, plug gained its electrical sense, referring to an outlet and electrical connection instead of just a stopper. In the 1930s, we see the word connection emerge as slang for an illegal drug supplier, the person connecting the drugs themselves to the sellers and users. This notion of connection appears to influence the slang sense of plug for a drug seller in the early 2000s.

In 2014, 50 Cent’s G Unit released “The Plug,” which boasts about being a drug hookup, or the plug.

Well, if you need that, then get at me

I’m the plug

Dope, coke, crack, man get at me

I’m the plug”

While the slang plug initially and especially refers to linking people together for drug-related transactions, plug spread by the 2010s for a source of any rare or desirable item.

How is plug used in real life?

Outside of everyday uses of plugs such as electrical plugs and plugging holes, plug is youth slang for a supplier of sought-after products, ranging from designer shoes and event tickets …

… to drugs, whether scored from small-time dealers or big-time suppliers.

Of course, we’d be remiss not to point out that plug is also a popular informal term meaning “to publicize something or someone insistently.”

More examples of plug:

“Skepta’s Clothing Brand Mains is Finally Available…Who’s Got the Plug?”
The Drop Date (headline), June 2017


This content is not meant to be a formal definition of this term. Rather, it is an informal summary that seeks to provide supplemental information and context important to know or keep in mind about the term’s history, meaning, and usage.

Example sentences from the Web for plug

British Dictionary definitions for plug

/ (plʌɡ) /


verb plugs, plugging or plugged

Derived forms of plug

plugger, noun

Word Origin for plug

C17: from Middle Dutch plugge; related to Middle Low German plugge, German Pflock
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

Medical definitions for plug

[ plŭg ]


A dense mass of material filling a hole or closing an orifice.


To fill tightly with a plug.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Idioms and Phrases with plug


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.