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
Related formsplug·ga·ble, adjectiveplug·ging·ly, adverbplug·less, adjectiveplug·like, adjective

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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for plug

Contemporary Examples of plug

Historical Examples of plug

  • Where two anvils were to be had, the cannonade was much brisker, as then a plug was not needed.

  • The ordinary "plug hat" was known to these people, but not an opera hat.

    The Leopard Woman

    Stewart Edward White

  • And I remember what a plug we thought my room-mate was because he wouldn't come with us.

    The Fortune Hunter

    Louis Joseph Vance

  • His other feats were the introduction of the pipe into England and the plug into Ireland.

  • I managed to plug three of them and I guess they thought I was a dozen men.

    Poisoned Air

    Sterner St. Paul Meek

British Dictionary definitions for plug



a piece of wood, cork, or other material, often cylindrical in shape, used to stop up holes and gaps or as a wedge for taking a screw or nail
such a stopper used esp to close the waste pipe of a bath, basin, or sink while it is in use and removed to let the water drain away
a device having one or more pins to which an electric cable is attached: used to make an electrical connection when inserted into a socket
Also called: volcanic plug a mass of solidified magma filling the neck of an extinct volcano
  1. a cake of pressed or twisted tobacco, esp for chewing
  2. a small piece of such a cake
angling a weighted artificial lure with one or more sets of hooks attached, used in spinning
a seedling with its roots encased in potting compost, grown in a tray with compartments for each individual plant
informal a recommendation or other favourable mention of a product, show, etc, as on television, on radio, or in newspapers
slang a shot, blow, or punch (esp in the phrase take a plug at)
informal the mechanism that releases water to flush a lavatory (esp in the phrase pull the plug)
mainly US an old horse
pull the plug on informal to put a stop to

verb plugs, plugging or plugged

(tr) to stop up or secure (a hole, gap, etc) with or as if with a plug
(tr) to insert or use (something) as a plugto plug a finger into one's ear
(tr) informal to make favourable and often-repeated mentions of (a song, product, show, etc), esp on television, on radio, or in newspapers
(tr) slang to shoot with a gunhe plugged six rabbits
(tr) slang to punch or strike
(intr; foll by along, away, etc) informal to work steadily or persistently
Derived Formsplugger, 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

Word Origin and History for plug

1620s, originally a seamen's term, probably from Dutch plug, Middle Dutch plugge "bung, stopper," related to Norwegian plugg, Danish pløg, North Frisian plaak, Middle Low German pluck, German Pflock; ultimate origin uncertain. Irish and Gaelic words are from English. Sense of "wad or stick of tobacco" is attested from 1728, based on resemblance. Electrical sense is from 1883, based on being inserted; meaning "sparking device in an internal combustion engine" is from 1886. Meaning "advertisement" first recorded 1902, American English, perhaps from verb sense "work energetically at" (c.1865).


"close tightly (a hole), fill," 1620s, from plug (n.) or from Dutch pluggen. Meaning "work energetically at" is c.1865. Sense of "popularize by repetition" is from 1906. Slang sense "put a bullet into" is recorded from 1870. Related: Plugged; plugging.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

plug in Medicine




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


In addition to the idiom beginning with plug

  • plug away at
  • plugged in, be

also see:

  • peg (plug) away at
  • pull the plug on
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.