n. & v.
1. a a shallow vessel, usu. circular and of earthenware or china, from which food is eaten or served. b the contents of this (ate a plate of sandwiches).
2 a similar vessel usu. of metal or wood, used esp. for making a collection in a church etc.
3 US a main course of a meal, served on one plate.
4 Austral. & NZ a contribution of cakes, sandwiches, etc., to a social gathering.
5 (collect.) a utensils of silver, gold, or other metal. b objects of plated metal.
6 a piece of metal with a name or inscription for affixing to a door, container, etc.
7 an illustration on special paper in a book.
8 a thin sheet of metal, glass, etc., coated with a sensitive film for photography.
9 a flat thin usu. rigid sheet of metal etc. with an even surface and uniform thickness, often as part of a mechanism.
10 a a smooth piece of metal etc. for engraving. b an impression made from this.
11 a a silver or gold cup as a prize for a horse-race etc. b a race with this as a prize.
12 a a thin piece of plastic material, moulded to the shape of the mouth and gums, to which artificial teeth or another orthodontic appliance are attached. b colloq. a complete denture or orthodontic appliance.
13 Geol. each of several rigid sheets of rock thought to form the earth's outer crust.
14 Biol. a thin flat organic structure or formation.
15 a light shoe for a racehorse.
16 a stereotype, electrotype, or plastic cast of a page of composed movable types, or a metal or plastic copy of filmset matter, from which sheets are printed.
17 US Baseball a flat piece of whitened rubber marking the station of a batter or pitcher.
18 US the anode of a thermionic valve.
19 a horizontal timber laid along the top of a wall to support the ends of joists or rafters (window-plate).
1. apply a thin coat esp. of silver, gold, or tin to (another metal).
2 cover (esp. a ship) with plates of metal, esp. for protection.
3 make a plate of (type etc.) for printing.
Phrases and idioms:
on a plate colloq. available with little trouble to the recipient. on one's plate for one to deal with or consider. plate armour armour of metal plates, for a man, ship, etc. plate glass thick fine-quality glass for shop windows etc., orig. cast in plates. plate-rack Brit. a rack in which plates are placed to drain. plate tectonics Geol. the study of the earth's surface based on the concept of moving 'plates' (see sense 13 of n.) forming its structure. plate tracery Archit. tracery with perforations in otherwise continuous stone.
plateful n. (pl. -fuls). plateless adj. plater n.
Etymology: ME f. OF f. med.L plata plate armour f. platus (adj.) ult. f. Gk platus flat