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plight1

[plahyt] /plaɪt/
noun
1.
a condition, state, or situation, especially an unfavorable or unfortunate one:
to find oneself in a sorry plight.
Origin
1350-1400
1350-1400; Middle English plit fold, condition, bad condition < Anglo-French (cognate with Middle French pleit plait) fold, manner of folding, condition; spelling apparently influenced by plight2 in obsolete sense “danger”
Synonyms
case. See predicament.

plight2

[plahyt] /plaɪt/
verb (used with object)
1.
to pledge (one's troth) in engagement to marry.
2.
to bind (someone) by a pledge, especially of marriage.
3.
to give in pledge, as one's word, or to pledge, as one's honor.
noun
4.
Archaic. pledge.
Origin
before 1000; (noun) Middle English; Old English pliht danger, risk; cognate with Dutch plicht, German Pflicht duty, obligation; (v.) Middle English plighten, Old English plihtan (derivative of the noun) to endanger, risk, pledge; cognate with Old High German phlichten to engage oneself, Middle Dutch plihten to guarantee
Related forms
plighter, noun
unplighted, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for plight
  • If you are not happy with your plight, do something about it.
  • This is the only course of action we have left since you continually turn a deaf ear to our plight.
  • Countless other plant and animal species share the tiger's plight.
  • As the plight of the colonies seemed more and more hopeless, Washington was offered dictatorial powers.
  • Cloistered in the luxury of Versailles, the royal couple was oblivious to their subjects' plight.
  • Never I wist thee in so poore a plight.
  • There is an honest, reflective quality to her writing, and her plight evokes outrage and sympathy.
  • The plight of refugees is the most emotional of the looming questions.
  • Higher fuel costs have made the industry's desperate plight critical.
  • Connectivity is worth the risk, since without it you are isolated and no one even knows your plight.
British Dictionary definitions for plight

plight1

/plaɪt/
noun
1.
a condition of extreme hardship, danger, etc
Word Origin
C14 plit, from Old French pleit fold, plait; probably influenced by Old English pliht peril, plight²

plight2

/plaɪt/
verb (transitive)
1.
to give or pledge (one's word): he plighted his word to attempt it
2.
to promise formally or pledge (allegiance, support, etc): to plight aid
3.
plight one's troth
  1. to make a promise of marriage
  2. to give one's solemn promise
noun
4.
(archaic or dialect) a solemn promise, esp of engagement; pledge
Derived Forms
plighter, noun
Word Origin
Old English pliht peril; related to Old High German, German Pflicht duty
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 plight
v.

"to pledge" (obsolete except in archaic plight one's troth), from Old English pligtan, plihtan "to endanger, imperil, compromise," verb form of pliht (n.) "danger, risk" (see plight (n.2)). Related: Plighted; plighting.

n.

"condition or state (usually bad)," late 12c., "danger, harm, strife," from Anglo-French plit, pleit, Old French pleit, ploit "condition" (13c.), originally "way of folding," from Vulgar Latin *plictum, from Latin plicitum, neuter past participle of Latin plicare "to fold, lay" (see ply (v.1)).

Originally in neutral sense (as in modern French en bon plit "in good condition"), sense of "harmful state" (and current spelling) probably is from convergence and confusion with plight (n.2) via notion of "entangling risk, pledge or promise with great risk to the pledger."

"pledge," mid-13c., "pledge, promise," usually involving risk or loss in default, from Old English pliht "danger, risk, peril, damage," from Proto-Germanic *pleg- (cf. Old Frisian plicht "danger, concern, care," Middle Dutch, Dutch plicht "obligation, duty," Old High German pfliht, German Pflicht "obligation, duty" (see plight (v.)). Cf. Old English plihtere "look-out man at the prow of a ship," plihtlic "perilous, dangerous."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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