plane

Definitions

General English

General Science

  • noun a deciduous hardwood tree, frequently grown in towns because of its resistance to air pollution.

Aviation

  • noun an imaginary surface containing all the straight lines that connect any two points on it

Computing

  • noun one layer of an image that can be manipulated independently within a graphics program

Construction

  • A tool used to smooth or shape wood.
  • To run sawn wood through a planer to smooth its surface.

Electronics

  • A flat surface considered to extend endlessly in all directions.

Medical

  • noun a flat surface, especially that of the body seen from a specific angle

Military

  • noun a fixed-wing aircraft.

Publishing

  • verb to smooth a surface, or to reduce a surface by removing a thin layer from it

Origin & History of “plane”

English has five distinct planes, four of which are essentially the same word as plain. these come ultimately from Latin plānus, but preserve its ‘flat’ meanings rather than (like plain) its ‘clear’ meanings. Plane ‘flat surface’ (17th c.) comes from Latin plānum, a noun use of the neuter form of the adjective; it is the plane from which aeroplane, and hence its abbreviation plane, were formed. Plane ‘carpenter’s smoothing tool’ (14th c.) comes via Old French plane from late Latin plāna, a derivative of the verb plānāre ‘make level’, itself a derivative of plānus. Plane ‘flat’ (17th c.) is an alteration of plain, on the model of French plan ‘flat’. And plane ‘glide, soar’ (17th c.) comes from French planer, a derivative of plan ‘level surface’ (the underlying notion being of a bird soaring with level wings). The odd man out is plane the tree-name (14th c.), which comes via Old French plane and Latin platanus from Greek plátanos, a derivative of platús ‘broad’ (source of English place, plaice, and platypus) – the reference being to its broad leaves. Platanus probably also underlies English plantain, as applied to the banana-like vegetable.
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