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[plot] /plɒt/
a secret plan or scheme to accomplish some purpose, especially a hostile, unlawful, or evil purpose:
a plot to overthrow the government.
Also called storyline. the plan, scheme, or main story of a literary or dramatic work, as a play, novel, or short story.
a small piece or area of ground:
a garden plot; burial plot.
a measured piece or parcel of land:
a house on a two-acre plot.
a plan, map, diagram, or other graphic representation, as of land, a building, etc.
a list, timetable, or scheme dealing with any of the various arrangements for the production of a play, motion picture, etc.:
According to the property plot, there should be a lamp stage left.
a chart showing the course of a craft, as a ship or airplane.
Artillery. a point or points located on a map or chart:
target plot.
verb (used with object), plotted, plotting.
to plan secretly, especially something hostile or evil:
to plot mutiny.
to mark on a plan, map, or chart, as the course of a ship or aircraft.
to draw a plan or map of, as a tract of land or a building.
to divide (land) into plots.
to determine and mark (points), as on plotting paper, by means of measurements or coordinates.
to draw (a curve) by means of points so marked.
to represent by means of such a curve.
to devise or construct the plot of (a play, novel, etc.).
to prepare a list, timetable, or scheme of (production arrangements), as for a play or motion picture:
The stage manager hadn't plotted the set changes until one day before the dress rehearsal.
to make (a calculation) by graph.
verb (used without object), plotted, plotting.
to plan or scheme secretly; form a plot; conspire.
to devise or develop a literary or dramatic plot.
to be marked or located by means of measurements or coordinates, as on plotting paper.
before 1100; (noun) of multiple orig.: in sense “piece of ground,” Middle English: small area, patch, stain, piece of ground, Old English: piece of ground (origin obscure); in senses “ground plan, outline, map, scheme,” variant (since the 16th century) of plat1, itself partly a variant of Middle English, Old English plot; sense “secret plan” (from 16th century) by association with complot, in pejorative sense; (v.) derivative of the noun
Related forms
plotful, adjective
plotless, adjective
plotlessness, noun
outplot, verb (used with object), outplotted, outplotting.
overplot, verb, overplotted, overplotting.
preplot, verb (used with object), preplotted, preplotting.
replot, verb (used with object), replotted, replotting.
unplotted, adjective
unplotting, adjective
well-plotted, adjective
1. intrigue, cabal. See conspiracy. 9. brew, hatch, frame. 19. Plot, conspire, scheme imply secret, cunning, and often unscrupulous planning to gain one's own ends. To plot is to contrive a secret plan of a selfish and often treasonable kind: to plot against someone's life. To conspire is to unite with others in an illicit or illegal machination: to conspire to seize a government. To scheme is to plan ingeniously, subtly, and often craftily for one's own advantage: to scheme how to gain power. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for plot
  • And lastly, the plot of the story doesn't make sense.
  • We are not alone in our ability to invent or plan or to contemplate ourselves-or even to plot and lie.
  • Ok, so here is plot of the price per month versus the data plan.
  • Characters travel from place to place and perform sometimes violent actions, but the novel doesn't proceed along a plot line.
  • The set-up and plot-line sound bizarre when described.
  • The plot was trite, more an extended greeting card than a story.
  • The real engine of the show isn't the machinations of its characters or its unfolding plot but its basic structure.
  • For example, they may be given a scatter plot with data points and asked questions about how a line falls within it.
  • The plot of one story centers on scientists drilling the ocean floor, and people who don't wish that to happen.
  • From begining to end this movie had great pace great action and a great plot.
British Dictionary definitions for plot


a secret plan to achieve some purpose, esp one that is illegal or underhand: a plot to overthrow the government
the story or plan of a play, novel, etc
(military) a graphic representation of an individual or tactical setting that pinpoints an artillery target
(mainly US) a diagram or plan, esp a surveyor's map
(informal) lose the plot, to lose one's ability or judgment in a given situation
verb plots, plotting, plotted
to plan secretly (something illegal, revolutionary, etc); conspire
(transitive) to mark (a course, as of a ship or aircraft) on a map
(transitive) to make a plan or map of
  1. to locate and mark (one or more points) on a graph by means of coordinates
  2. to draw (a curve) through these points
(transitive) to construct the plot of (a literary work)
Word Origin
C16: from plot², influenced in use by complot


a small piece of land: a vegetable plot
verb plots, plotting, plotted
(transitive) to arrange or divide (land) into plots
Word Origin
Old English: piece of land, plan of an area
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 plot

Old English plot "small piece of ground," of unknown origin. Sense of "ground plan," and thus "map, chart" is 1550s; that of "a secret, plan, scheme" is 1580s, probably by accidental similarity to complot, from Old French complot "combined plan," of unknown origin, perhaps a back-formation from compeloter "to roll into a ball," from pelote "ball." Meaning "set of events in a story" is from 1640s. Plot-line (n.) attested from 1957.


1580s, "to lay plans for" (usually with evil intent); 1590s in the literal sense of "to make a map or diagram," from plot (n.). Related: Plotted; plotter; plotting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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plot in Culture

plot definition

The organization of events in a work of fiction.

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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Encyclopedia Article for plot

in fiction, the structure of interrelated actions, consciously selected and arranged by the author. Plot involves a considerably higher level of narrative organization than normally occurs in a story or fable. According to E.M. Forster in Aspects of the Novel (1927), a story is a "narrative of events arranged in their time-sequence," whereas a plot organizes the events according to a "sense of causality."

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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