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[pluhg-in] /ˈplʌgˌɪn/
capable of or designed for being connected to an electrical power source by plugging in or inserting:
a plug-in hair dryer; a plug-in transistor.
plug (def 3).
jack1 (def 3).
a plug-in appliance.
Origin of plug-in
1920-25; adj., noun use of verb phrase plug in Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for plug-in

plug in

(transitive, adverb) to connect (an electrical appliance) with a power source by means of an electrical plug
a device that can be connected by means of a plug
(computing) a module or piece of software that can be added to a system to provide extra functions or features, esp software that enhances the capabilities of a web browser
(computing) (as modifier): plug-in memory cards
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 plug-in

1922, from plug (v.) + in (adv.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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plug-in in Science
An accessory software or hardware package that is used in conjunction with an existing application or device to extend its capabilities or provide additional functions.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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plug-in in Technology
A file containing data used to alter, enhance, or extend the operation of a parent application program. One of the first uses of this term was in Silicon Beach's SuperPaint application (late 1980s?) for the Macintosh. It had a Plug-ins folder containing different tools and effects.
The Netscape Navigator World-Wide Web browser supports plug-ins which display or interpret a particular file format or protocol such as Shockwave, RealAudio, Adobe Systems, Inc. PDF, Corel CMX (vector graphics). The file to be displayed is included in a web page using an EMBED HTML tag.
Plug-ins, both commercially and indepently authored, can usually be downloaded for free and are stored locally. Plug-ins come in different versions specific to particular operating systems (Microsoft Windows 3.1, 3.2, and Macintosh are available).
Compare applet.
Plug-in Plaza (
PC Mag Plug-ins (
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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