General English


  • noun a smooth, flat rigid object with the same thickness all over

Cars & Driving

  • noun a thin flat sheet of metal
  • noun in each battery cell are two lead-alloy plates: one of lead peroxide (positive plate), the other of spongy lead (negative plate); separators are placed between the plates of different polarity
  • verb to coat (a metal) with a thin layer of another metal by electrolysis, chemical reaction, etc.


  • In formwork for concrete, a flat, horizontal member at the top and/or bottom of studs or posts. If on the ground, a plate is called a mudsill.
  • In structural design, a member, the depth of which is substantially smaller than its length and width.
  • In framing, the top plate (horizontal) connects with the top of wall studs. The floor joists, rafters, or trusses rest on it. The sole plate is at the bottom of wall studs. The still plate (horizontal) rests on and is anchored to the foundation.
  • A flat rolled iron or steel product. See also flat plate, load-transfer assembly.


  • The positive electrode in an electron tube. Electrons emitted by the cathode travel towards it. Also known as anode (1).
  • One of the electrodes in a capacitor. Also called capacitor plate.
  • One of the electrodes in an electrochemical cell.
  • The formation of a metal deposit on another surface, usually a different metal, via electrolysis. Also called electroplate.
  • A thin, or very thin, layer or coat deposited or applied to a metal. Also, to apply such a plate.
  • A light-sensitive sheet, usually of glass or metal, upon which a photographic image may be recorded.


  • A flat oval or round piece of crockery on which food is served
  • The rear part of the lower half of the ribs of beef behind the brisket, usually used for stewing and manufacturing

Information & Library Science

  • noun an illustration in a book often on better-quality paper than the text

Media Studies

  • noun a template for printing, either an engraved metal sheet or a phototypeset page
  • noun a full-page illustration or photograph in a book, especially on glossy paper
  • noun a sheet of glass or other material coated with a light-sensitive film to receive a photographic image
  • noun a print made from a printing plate, especially one inserted into a book on paper different from that on which the text is printed
  • noun part of a tripod set-up that fixes the camera securely to the tripod
  • verb to set up movable printing type into page form ready for printing


  • noun a flat piece of metal attached to a fractured bone to hold the broken parts together


  • noun a surface on which the text or image to be printed is fixed

Real Estate

  • noun a thin flat rigid sheet or slice of some material, usually of uniform thickness and with a smooth surface
  • noun a piece, sheet or slab of flat metal used to join or strengthen things
  • noun a horizontal timber laid along the top of a wall of a building to support the ends of timbers laid at right angles to the wall


  • verb to perform fellatio. A term from the 1960s, now dated, which was part of the jargon of rock-music groupies. Conflicting etymologies cite the rhyming slang ‘plate of ham’ for gam (a synonym for fellatio), or simply the image of licking a plate.

Origin & History of “plate”

Etymologically, a plate is something ‘flat’. It comes from vulgar Latin *plattus ‘flat’, which may go back to Greek platús ‘broad’ (source of English place, plane the tree, and platypus). It reached English via two separate Old French words, which have since coalesced: first plate, which gives the sense ‘flat sheet’, as in silver plate and plate glass; and then, in the 15th century, plat, ‘dish for food’. Related forms in English include plateau (18th c.), platform (16th c.) (etymologically a ‘flat form’), platinum (19th c.), platitude (19th c.) (a ‘flat’ or dull remark), and platter (14th c.).