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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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:
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.