1583, "public square in an It. town," from It. piazza, from L. platea "courtyard, broad street," from Gk. plateia (hodos) "broad (street)." Mistakenly applied in Eng. c.1642 to the colonnade of Covent Garden, designed by Inigo Jones, rather than to the marketplace itself; hence "the verandah of a house" (1724, chiefly Amer.Eng.).