1 [pleyn]
a flat or level surface.
Geometry. a surface generated by a straight line moving at a constant velocity with respect to a fixed point.
Fine Arts. an area of a two-dimensional surface having determinate extension and spatial direction or position: oblique plane; horizontal plane.
a level of dignity, character, existence, development, or the like: a high moral plane.
an airplane or a hydroplane: to take a plane to Dallas.
a thin, flat or curved, extended section of an airplane or a hydroplane, affording a supporting surface.
Architecture. a longitudinal section through the axis of a column.
flat or level, as a surface.
of or pertaining to planes or plane figures.
verb (used without object), planed, planing.
to glide or soar.
(of a boat) to rise partly out of the water when moving at high speed.
Informal. to fly or travel in an airplane: We'll drive to Detroit and plane to Los Angeles.

1400–50 for sense “to soar”; 1640–50 for noun and adj. senses; (noun) < Latin plānum flat surface (noun use of plānus flat); (adj.) < Latin plānus; first used to distinguish the geometrical senses formerly belonging to plain1; in def. 5, shortened form of airplane, aeroplane, or hydroplane; (v.) late Middle English planen (of a bird) to soar (compare Middle French planer); akin to plain1

planeness, noun

4. stratum, stage. 7. smooth, even, flush. Unabridged


2 [pleyn]
Carpentry. any of various woodworking instruments for paring, truing, or smoothing, or for forming moldings, chamfers, rabbets, grooves, etc., by means of an inclined, adjustable blade moved along and against the piece being worked.
a trowellike tool for smoothing the surface of clay in a brick mold.
verb (used with object), planed, planing.
to smooth or dress with or as if with a plane or a planer.
to remove by or as if by means of a plane (usually followed by away or off ).
verb (used without object), planed, planing.
to work with a plane.
to function as a plane.

1275–1325; (noun) Middle English (< Middle French) < Late Latin plāna, derivative of plānāre to smooth, itself derivative of Latin plānus plain1; (v.) Middle English planen (< Middle French planer) < Late Latin plānāre


3 [pleyn]

1350–1400; Middle English < Middle French < Latin platanus < Greek plátanos, derivative of platýs broad, flat1 (with reference to the leaves) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To plane
World English Dictionary
plane1 (pleɪn)
1.  maths a flat surface in which a straight line joining any two of its points lies entirely on that surface
2.  a flat or level surface
3.  a level of existence, performance, attainment, etc
4.  a.  short for aeroplane
 b.  a wing or supporting surface of an aircraft or hydroplane
5.  level or flat
6.  maths (of a curve, figure, etc) lying entirely in one plane
7.  to fly without moving wings or using engines; glide
8.  (of a boat) to rise partly and skim over the water when moving at a certain speed
9.  to travel by aeroplane
[C17: from Latin plānum level surface]

plane2 (pleɪn)
1.  a tool with an adjustable sharpened steel blade set obliquely in a wooden or iron body, for levelling or smoothing timber surfaces, cutting mouldings or grooves, etc
2.  a flat tool, usually metal, for smoothing the surface of clay or plaster in a mould
3.  to level, smooth, or cut (timber, wooden articles, etc) using a plane or similar tool
4.  (often foll by off) to remove using a plane
[C14: via Old French from Late Latin plāna plane, from plānāre to level]

plane3 (pleɪn)
See plane tree

plane tree or plane
Also called: platan any tree of the genus Platanus, having ball-shaped heads of fruits and leaves with pointed lobes: family Platanaceae. The hybrid P. × acerifolia (London plane) is frequently planted in towns
[C14 plane, from Old French, from Latin platanus, from Greek platanos, from platos wide, referring to the leaves]
plane or plane
[C14 plane, from Old French, from Latin platanus, from Greek platanos, from platos wide, referring to the leaves]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

"flat surface," 1604, from L. plantum "flat surface," properly neut. of adj. planus "flat, level, plain, clear," from PIE *pla-no- (cf. Lith. plonas "thin;" Celtic *lanon "plain;" perhaps also Gk. pelanos "sacrificial cake, a mixture offered to the gods, offering (of meal, honey, and oil) poured or spread"),
suffixed form of base *pele- "to spread out, broad, flat" (cf. O.C.S. polje "flat land, field," Rus. polyi "open;" O.E., O.H.G. feld, M.Du. veld "field"). Fig. sense is attested from 1850. The verb meaning "soar, glide on motionless wings" is first recorded 1611, from M.Fr. planer (16c.), from L. planum on notion of bird gliding with flattened wings. Of boats, etc., "to skim over the surface of water" it is first found 1913.

1908, short for aeroplane (see airplane).

"tool for smoothing surfaces," 1349, from O.Fr. plane, earlier plaine (14c.), from L.L. plana, from planare "make level," from L. planus "level, flat" (see plane (1)). The verb meaning "to make smooth" is c.1320, from O.Fr. planer (12c.), from L.L. planare.

"tree of the genus Platanus," 1382, from O.Fr. plane, earlier plasne (14c.), from L. platanus, from Gk. platanos, earlier platanistos "plane tree," a species from Asia Minor, associated with platys "broad," in reference to its leaves (see place (n.)). Applied since 1778 in
Scotland and northern England to the sycamore, whose leaves somewhat resemble those of the true plane tree.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

plane 1 (plān)

  1. A surface containing all the straight lines that connect any two points on it.

  2. A flat or level surface.

  3. An imaginary surface formed by extension through any axis of the body or through two definite points on the body.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
plane   (plān)  Pronunciation Key 
Noun   A two-dimensional surface, any two of whose points can be joined by a straight line that lies entirely in the surface.

Adjective   Lying in a plane: a plane curve.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

plane definition

A geometrical location having only two dimensions — length and width (no height). (See coordinates and plane geometry.)

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
In pleaching, side branches of adjoining trees are intertwined in one flat
  plane and all the rest of the branches are removed.
At birth it is more horizontal and situated in almost the same plane as the
  base of the skull.
Apparently, Boeing's new solar plane could fly around the world for years
  without stopping.
It is a plane unto itself, which is what makes it so amazing and so unique.
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