use-icon

HOW TO USE THE DICTIONARY

Learn what the dictionary tells you about words.

Get Started Now!

Some compound words (like bus rapid transit, dog whistle, or identity theft) don’t appear on the drop-down list when you enter them into the search window. If a compound term doesn’t appear in the drop-down list, try entering the term into the search window and then hit the search button (instead of the “enter” key). Alternatively, begin searches for compound terms with a quotation mark.

use-icon

THE USAGE PANEL

The Usage Panel is a group of nearly 200 prominent scholars, creative writers, journalists, diplomats, and others in occupations requiring mastery of language. The Panelists are surveyed annually to gauge the acceptability of particular usages and grammatical constructions.

The Panelists

puzzle-icon

NEED HELP SOLVING A CROSSWORD PUZZLE?

Go to our Crossword Puzzle Solver and type in the letters that you know, and the Solver will produce a list of possible solutions.

open-icon

INTERESTED IN DICTIONARIES?

Check out the Dictionary Society of North America at http://www.dictionarysociety.com

open-icon

AMERICAN HERITAGE DICTIONARY APP

The new American Heritage Dictionary app is now available for iOS and Android.

scroll-icon

INDO-EUROPEAN & SEMITIC ROOTS APPENDICES

Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:

Indo-European Roots

Semitic Roots

The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.

open-icon

OPEN DICTIONARY PROJECT

Share your ideas for new words and new meanings of old words!

Start Sharing Now!

100-words-icon

See word lists from the best-selling 100 Words Series!

Find out more!

plant (plănt)
Share:
n.
1. Botany
a. Any of various photosynthetic, eukaryotic, multicellular organisms of the kingdom Plantae characteristically containing chloroplasts, having cell walls made of cellulose, producing embryos, and lacking the power of locomotion. Plants include trees, bushes, herbs, ferns, mosses, and certain green algae.
b. A plant having no permanent woody stem; an herb.
c. Any of various fungi, algae, or protists that resemble plants and were formerly classified in the plant kingdom. Not in scientific use.
2.
a. A building or group of buildings for the manufacture of a product; a factory: works in an auto plant.
b. The buildings, fixtures, and equipment, including machinery, tools, and instruments, necessary for an industrial operation or an institution: the university's mechanical plant.
3. A person or thing put into place in order to mislead or function secretly, especially:
a. A person placed in a group of spectators to influence behavior.
b. A person stationed in a given location as a spy or observer.
c. A misleading piece of evidence placed so as to be discovered.
d. A remark or action in a play or narrative that becomes important later.
4. Slang A scheming trick; a swindle.
tr.v. plant·ed, plant·ing, plants
1.
a. To place or set (seeds, for example) in the ground to grow.
b. To place seeds or young plants in (land); sow: plant a field in corn.
2.
a. To place (spawn or young fish) in water or an underwater bed for cultivation: plant oysters.
b. To stock with spawn or fish.
3. To introduce (an animal) into an area.
4.
a. To place or fix in a certain position: planted both feet on the ground; planted a kiss on my cheek.
b. To deliver (a punch or blow).
c. To fix firmly in the mind; implant: "The right of revolution is planted in the heart of man" (Clarence Darrow).
5. To establish; found: plant a colony.
6.
a. To station (a person) for the purpose of functioning in secret, as by observing, spying, or influencing behavior: Detectives were planted all over the store.
b. To place secretly or deceptively so as to be discovered or made public: planted a gun on the corpse to make the death look like suicide.
7. To conceal; hide: planted the stolen goods in the warehouse.

[Middle English plante, from Old English and Old French, both from Latin planta, sprout, seedling; see plat- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]

planta·ble adj.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

This website is best viewed in Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, or Safari. Some characters in pronunciations and etymologies cannot be displayed properly in Internet Explorer.