plateau

[pla-toh or, esp. British, plat-oh]
noun, plural plateaus, plateaux [pla-tohz or, esp. British, plat-ohz] .
1.
a land area having a relatively level surface considerably raised above adjoining land on at least one side, and often cut by deep canyons.
2.
a period or state of little or no growth or decline: to reach a plateau in one's career.
3.
Psychology. a period of little or no apparent progress in an individual's learning, marked by an inability to increase speed, reduce number of errors, etc., and indicated by a horizontal stretch in a learning curve or graph.
4.
a flat stand, as for a centerpiece, sometimes extending the full length of a table.
verb (used without object), plateaued, plateauing.
5.
to reach a state or level of little or no growth or decline, especially to stop increasing or progressing; remain at a stable level of achievement; level off: After a period of uninterrupted growth, sales began to plateau.
verb (used with object), plateaued, plateauing.
6.
to cause to remain at a stable level, especially to prevent from rising or progressing: Rising inflation plateaued sales income.

Origin:
1785–95; < French; Old French platel flat object, diminutive of plat plate1

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To plateaus
Collins
World English Dictionary
plateau (ˈplætəʊ)
 
n , pl -eaus, -eaux
1.  a wide mainly level area of elevated land
2.  a relatively long period of stability; levelling off: the rising prices reached a plateau
 
vb
3.  to remain at a stable level for a relatively long period
 
[C18: from French, from Old French platel something flat, from plat flat; see plate]

Plateau (ˈplætəʊ)
 
n
a state of central Nigeria, formed in 1976 from part of Benue-Plateau State: tin mining. Capital: Jos. Pop: 3 178 712 (2006). Area: 30 913 sq km (11 936 sq miles)

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

plateau
1796, "elevated tract of relatively level land," from Fr. plateau, from O.Fr. platel (12c.) "flat piece of metal, wood, etc.," dim. of plat "flat surface or thing," noun use of adj. plat (see plat). Meaning "stage at which no progress is apparent" is attested from 1897, originally
in psychology of learning. The verb is attested from 1952, from the noun.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Science Dictionary
plateau   (plā-tō')  Pronunciation Key 
An elevated, comparatively level expanse of land. Plateaus make up about 45 percent of the Earth's land surface.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
Example sentences
Much of the south comprises rocky plateaus carved by glaciers.
Fortunately, there are two solid models that have already proven effective at
  cracking problems and pushing past plateaus.
Any slow starts or early plateaus will pull us off track.
Climate and geography vary from the freezing northern plateaus to the
  semi-tropical south.
Related Words
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature