A lot vs. Alot: 9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[plak] /plæk/
a thin, flat plate or tablet of metal, porcelain, etc., intended for ornament, as on a wall, or set in a piece of furniture.
an inscribed commemorative tablet, usually of metal placed on a building, monument, or the like.
a platelike brooch or ornament, especially one worn as the badge of an honorary order.
Anatomy, Pathology. a flat, often raised, patch on the skin or other organ, as on the inner lining of arterial walls in atherosclerosis.
Dentistry. a soft, sticky, whitish matlike film attached to tooth surfaces, formed largely by the growth of bacteria that colonize the teeth.
Bacteriology. a cleared region in a bacterial culture, resulting from lysis of bacteria by bacteriophages.
1840-50; < French, noun derivative of plaquer to plate < Middle Dutch placken to patch; cf. placket
Can be confused
plague, plaque. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for plaques
  • The new law also lays down detailed instructions for the way in which memorials and plaques may be inscribed.
  • The disease, in which toxic plaques form and interfere with brain function, remains untreatable.
  • Heart disease typically begins with unhealthy blood vessels that develop fatty deposits called plaques.
  • High levels of amyloid plaques, a hallmark of the disease, are marked in red.
  • One way to prevent plaques might be to block one of those crucial enzymes.
  • plaques occur between nerve cells, and are now known to consist of clumps of beta amyloid, an abnormal protein.
  • Scenes of hunting and feasting enliven two ivory plaques.
  • But the words on accompanying plaques toughen them up.
  • plaques inside the church honor those who have sponsored a performance year.
  • The plaques quickly deteriorated and only lasted a year before being removed.
British Dictionary definitions for plaques


/plæk; plɑːk/
an ornamental or commemorative inscribed tablet or plate of porcelain, wood, etc
a small flat brooch or badge, as of a club, etc
(pathol) any small abnormal patch on or within the body, such as the typical lesion of psoriasis
short for dental plaque
(bacteriol) a clear area within a bacterial or tissue culture caused by localized destruction of the cells by a bacteriophage or other virus
Word Origin
C19: from French, from plaquier to plate, from Middle Dutch placken to beat (metal) into a thin plate
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for plaques



1848, "ornamental plate or tablet," from French plaque "metal plate, coin" (15c.), perhaps through Flemish placke "small coin," from Middle Dutch placke "disk, patch, stain," related to German Placken "spot, patch" (cf. placard). Meaning "deposit on walls of arteries" is first attested 1891; that of "bacteria deposits on teeth" is 1898.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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plaques in Medicine

plaque (plāk)

  1. A small disk-shaped formation or growth; a patch.

  2. A deposit of fatty material on the inner lining of an arterial wall, characteristic of atherosclerosis.

  3. Dental plaque.

  4. A clear, often round patch of lysed cells in an otherwise opaque layer of a bacteria or cell culture.

  5. A scaly patch formed on the skin by psoriasis.

  6. A sharply defined zone of demyelination characteristic of multiple sclerosis.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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plaques in Science
  1. A small disk-shaped formation or growth; a patch.

  2. A film of mucus and bacteria on the surface of the teeth.

  3. A deposit of material in a bodily tissue or organ, especially one of the fatty deposits that collect on the inner lining of an artery wall in atherosclerosis or one of the amyloid deposits that accumulate in the brain in Alzheimer's disease.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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plaques in Culture
plaque [(plak)]

A thin film composed of bacteria, mucus, and food particles that forms on the surfaces of teeth. Plaque contributes to tooth decay and gum disease. Plaque also refers to a combination of cholesterol and lipids that can accumulate on the inside of arteries, causing atherosclerosis.

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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