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The Oxford Thesaurus - An A-Z Dictionary Of Synonyms

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n. plagiarizing, plagiary, piracy, pirating, theft, purloining, stealing, copying, appropriating, appropriation, thievery, usurpation, infringing, infringement, imitation, Euphemistic borrowing, Colloq lifting, cribbing: The similarities between the two books could only be explained by plagiarism.

plague n. 1 scourge, epidemic, pestilence, affliction, pandemic, calamity, curse, evil, bane, blight, visitation: The inhabitants turned a plague of locusts to advantage by eating

them. 2 irritation, annoyance, nuisance, pest, vexation, bother, thorn in one's side or flesh, torment, torture, Colloq pain (in the neck), headache, aggravation, Slang drag, bitch, hassle, Taboo slang pain in the Brit arse or US ass: It's a plague trying to find a place to park the car.

--v. 3 badger, harry, hound, pester, annoy, vex, irritate, bother, harass, nag, nettle, exasperate, gall, annoy, irk, torment, torture, anguish, distress, Brit chivvy or chivy or

chevy: I wish the police would stop plaguing me with questions about Jonathan's whereabouts.

plain adj. 1 flat, smooth, even, featureless, level, plane: I'd rather have a paper with a plain surface, not an embossed one, for the bedroom walls. 2 clear, evident, simple, distinct, crystal clear, lucid, vivid, transparent, apparent, obvious, patent, self-evident, manifest, distinct, unmistakable or unmistakeable, unequivocal, unambiguous, understandable, intelligible, graphic, direct, in black and white: His intentions regarding my daughter are plain enough. The plain fact is that she despises him. 3 open, honest, straightforward, forthright, direct, frank, candid, blunt, outspoken, ingenuous, sincere, guileless, artless, unreserved: I want to see some plain talk between the two of us. 4 simple, unadorned, undecorated, unembellished, basic, austere, stark, unostentatious, colourless, drab, bare, unvarnished, Spartan: Don't you find the average business suit a very plain affair? 5 homely, unattractive, ordinary-looking, unlovely, ugly: Who would believe that such a plain child could become such a beautiful woman?

--n. 6 prairie, grassland, pasture, meadow-land, veld or veldt,


pampas, campo, llano, savannah or savanna, steppe, tundra,


champaign or campagna; heath; moor, moorland; plateau, flatland;


down, downland, Literary wold, Archaic or literary mead: The


plain stretched out before us as far as the eye could see.


n. 1 design, layout, blueprint, scheme, method, procedure,


system, arrangement, programme, project, formula, pattern,


Colloq script, scenario: The plan called for monthly progress


meetings. The best laid plans of mice and men gang aft agley. 2


drawing, sketch, design, layout, blueprint, chart, map, diagram,


representation: This plan shows where the furniture will be




--v. 3 lay out or down, design, arrange, devise, outline,


organize, plot, map out, delineate, develop: She has been


invited to plan the new shopping mall. 4 intend, expect,


envisage, envision, foresee, aim, contemplate, propose: Were


you planning to go to the cinema tonight?


n. 1 flat or level (surface): The lines meet in the same


plane. 2 aeroplane, aircraft, airliner, jet (plane): I caught


the next plane for Marrakesh.


--adj. 3 flat, even, level, smooth, plain, regular, unbroken,


uninterrupted, uniform, horizontal: We landed on the plane


surface of the glacier.


--v. 4 glide, skim, skate, skid, slip, slide: I swiftly planed


along on my sailboard.


n. board, timber, slab: The flooring was made up of wide


planks laid side by side.


n. 1 flower, vegetable, herb, bush, shrub, tree, vine, weed:


Because of all the rain, the plants are flourishing this summer.


2 factory, mill, shop, works, workshop, foundry: The new plant


in Crawley is hiring lathe operators. 3 equipment, machinery,


apparatus; gear, fixtures: The plant includes heavy cranes,


JCBs, earth movers, and bulldozers. 4 spy, (undercover or


secret) agent, informer, informant: The new assistant is a


plant, sent in by management to report on union activities.

--v. 5 bed (out), sow, seed, set (out), transplant: We planted

a herbaceous border along the south wall of the garden. 6 implant, establish, root, fix, ingrain, lodge, instil,

insinuate, inject, introduce, impress, imprint: Who planted the idea in your mind that you were a gifted writer? 7 place, put, position, station, assign, situate: Watch-towers are planted at 50-foot intervals around the prison. 8 hide, secrete, conceal: The company has planted detectives in the store to watch out for shoplifters.


n. flowerpot, cache-pot: He poured the drugged wine into a

nearby planter.


n. 1 tablet, medallion, plate, panel, marker, slab, plaquette:

The plaque on the house marks it as the birthplace of Thomas Carlyle. 2 badge, brooch, pin, patch, medallion, medal,

insignia or insigne: The plaque shows him to be a member of the Royal Yacht Squadron. 3 prize, honour, award, trophy: At the annual dinner, she was presented with a plaque to mark her many years of service.


v. smear, daub, bedaub, spread, coat, cover, overlay,

superimpose: The mud was plastered all over my boots. They

plastered the walls with posters.


adj. 1 mouldable, shapable or shapeable, fictile, soft,

malleable, workable, ductile, flexible, soft, pliant, supple, pliable, clayey, waxy: The clay must be worked into the desired form while it is still plastic. 2 impressionable, receptive,

open, persuadable or persuasible, susceptible, tractable,

compliant, responsive, manageable, unformed, inexperienced: One encounters the children at an age when their minds and personalities are still plastic enough to be influenced. 3

artificial, synthetic, imitation, fake, counterfeit, ersatz, paste, bogus, meretricious, sham; cheap, pinchbeck, shoddy;

Colloq phoney or US also phony, crummy, US chintzy: She was wearing a tawdry plastic brooch.

plate n. 1 platter, dish, Archaic trencher, charger: I left the cold mashed potato on my plate. 2 course, serving, portion, dish, platter: I ordered their speciality, a plate of spaghetti. 3 layer, leaf, sheet, pane, panel, lamina, slab: In the condenser, insulation separates the thin metal plates. 4 coating, coat, plating, layer, lamination: The plate on our

cutlery is wearing thin. 5 illustration, picture, print, US

cut: The book contains many beautiful colour plates of flowers.

--v. 6 cover, coat, overlay, face, laminate: All the serving dishes were plated with gold.

plateau n. 1 tableland, upland, highland, mesa: We climbed till we reached a grassy plateau. 2 level, lull, pause, levelling off:

At 39, Julia seemed to have reached a plateau in her career.

platform n. 1 stand, dais, stage, podium, rostrum: After the introduction, the speaker mounted the platform. 2 policy, party line, principle(s), tenet(s), programme, plank: The main elements of our platform will be revealed at the party conference.

platonic adj. non-physical, asexual, non-sexual, celibate, chaste, dispassionate, detached, spiritual, ideal, intellectual: Some say that their relationship has not always been purely platonic.


n. company, squad, squadron, group, patrol, team, cadre, body,

formation, unit, Colloq outfit: A platoon of soldiers was

marched to the barracks in close-order drill.


n. serving dish, server, salver, tray, plate, dish: Waiters

walked among the guests with platters of hot hors-d'oeuvres.

plausible adj. 1 likely, believable, reasonable, credible, tenable, conceivable, thinkable, probable, imaginable, admissible, sound, sensible, rational, logical, acceptable, trustworthy,

presentable: The police regarded our alibi as plausible. 2 specious, deceptive, meretricious, misleading, deceitful, casuistic, sophistical, Jesuitical, smooth, empty: He was a cunning, plausible sort of fellow.


v. 1 amuse oneself, frolic, frisk, cavort, gambol, caper,


sport, have fun, have a good time, enjoy oneself, disport


(oneself), carouse: Ken's mother won't let him go out and play.


2 participate (in), take part (in), join (in), be occupied (in


or with); engage in, contend in, take up, take part in, occupy


oneself in or with, undertake: He was invited for a game of


poker, but he refused to play. I understand that you play


bridge. 3 engage, contend with, compete with or against,

challenge, vie with, pit oneself against, take on, rival: The stranger played me at snooker, and I lost three games out of three. 4 portray, depict, perform, act or take the role or part

of, act: In the new production of Othello she plays Desdemona. 5 perform (upon or on); put on: Play 'Misty' for me. She plays the piccolo very well. Could you play that Caruso record? 6 operate: I wish they wouldn't play their hi-fi so loud. 7 gamble, bet, wager, stake, place, put: He played his last chip on number 14. 8 play along. a Often, play along with. cooperate, participate, go along (with), do or play one's part,

be a party to: I agreed to play along with her charade. b manipulate, jolly along: She played him along till he bought her a car. 9 play around. a fool around, tease, Colloq monkey

about or around, horse around or about: Stop playing around and get to work. b dally, flirt, be unfaithful; philander,

womanize; Colloq fool around, run around, sleep around, play the field: She found out about his playing around and filed for divorce. 10 play at. pretend, make believe, fake, feign,

simulate, affect: She's merely playing at enjoying skiing to please you. 11 play ball. cooperate, agree, work together, work hand in glove, play along: They want him to smuggle diamonds, but he won't play ball. 12 play by ear. improvise, extemporize, ad lib , Colloq wing it: She can't read music and just plays by ear. With no definite plan of action, I'll just play it by ear.

13 play down. belittle, minimize, diminish, disparage, make light of, deprecate, decry, de-emphasize: He has always played down his role in the affair. 14 play for time. delay, procrastinate, stall (for time), temporize, hesitate, Colloq

drag one's feet: They don't yet have the money to pay, so they are playing for time. 15 play on or upon. use, misuse, abuse, trade on, exploit, take advantage of, impose on: He plays on women's affections then persuades them to give him money. 16 play the game. behave, conduct oneself, deport oneself, act: It makes no difference whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game. 17 play up. a stress, emphasize, underscore, underline, accentuate, call attention to, highlight, spotlight, dramatize, build up: Always try to play up your assets and play down your liabilities. b act up, misbehave, give or cause trouble, malfunction, Colloq go on the blink or US fritz, Brit be wonky: The bloody engine started playing up again, right in the middle of a rainstorm. 18 play up to. curry favour with, flatter, toady to, ingratiate oneself with, butter up, truckle

to, court, Colloq soft-soap, suck up to, boot-lick, US

apple-polish, Taboo slang brown-nose: Ray is always playing up to the teacher, trying to get a better mark. 19 play with. a

toy with, trifle with, treat cavalierly or lightly, make light

of, think nothing of, dally with, amuse oneself with: He's just playing with her till he gets what he's after. b consider,

think about, toy with, not treat seriously: We were playing with the idea of a winter holiday this year. c mess with, fiddle with, toy with, fidget with: Stop playing with your food!

--n. 20 drama, stage play, show, piece, production, entertainment: We have tickets to a different play for every night this week. 21 behaviour, actions, deportment, conduct, demeanour: In the game of life, many have no regard for the rules of fair play. The police suspect foul play. 22 amusement, frivolity, entertainment, recreation, fun, pleasure, sport, merrymaking, revelry, tomfoolery, Colloq horseplay, skylarking, monkey business, Brit monkey tricks or US monkeyshines: The time for play is past, and we must get down to serious business. 23 move, manoeuvre, action: That last play might have won you the game. 24 flexibility, looseness, freedom, leeway, margin, room, space, movement, motion, Colloq give: There's too much play in this gear lever. 25 treatment, coverage, attention:

The newspapers gave Connie's new book a big play.


n. man about town, rou‚, rake, debauchee, gay dog, womanizer,

Don Juan, Casanova, Lothario, Romeo, Colloq wolf, lady-killer:

He fancies himself as a playboy, but no women seem to agree.


n. 1 contestant, participant, competitor, contender; athlete,

sportswoman, sportsman, Colloq US jock: Chess players from all over the world came together for the championship. The referee sent three players off. 2 actor or actress, performer,

entertainer, trouper, Thespian: The local drama group is the Allen Arts Players. 3 gambler, better or especially US bettor, gamester, speculator, Brit punter: J.B. is a big player in the commodities market. 4 musician, instrumentalist, performer, virtuoso: Gladys is one of the best tuba players in the band.

playful adj. 1 (high-)spirited, cheerful, frisky, frolicsome, kittenish, sprightly, fun-loving, sportive, coltish, mischievous, puckish, impish, elfish, devilish: The cat didn't mean to scratch you, she was just being playful. 2 joking,

facetious, teasing, roguish, waggish, jesting, humorous, tongue-in-cheek: Cleo's in a playful mood today, isn't she?

playmate n. playfellow, friend, comrade, Colloq pal, chum, US and Canadian buddy: Some of Molly's playmates are asking if she can come out to play.

plaything n. 1 toy, game, knick-knack, pastime: Please pick up your playthings before supper. 2 tool, cat's-paw, dupe, pigeon,

pawn, Colloq US and Canadian fall guy: She had no use for Gerry except as a plaything.


n. dramatist, dramaturge or dramaturgist, scriptwriter, screenwriter, scenarist: The playwright has deftly caught the way people talk to each other.


n. 1 request, entreaty, appeal, petition, supplication, suit,


cry, solicitation: Teenagers' mischievous behaviour is an


earnest plea for attention. 2 answer, defence, argument: She


entered a plea of 'not guilty' to the charge. 3 excuse, reason,


explanation, justification; pretext: His plea was that he had


not received the bill and therefore couldn't pay it.


v. 1 Often, plead for. request, appeal (for), cry (for), ask


(for), seek, beg (for), pray (for), supplicate (for): It was a


hot day and the children were pleading for ice-creams every half


hour. 2 Usually, plead with. request (of), entreat, appeal to,


petition, ask, apply to, implore, beseech, beg, importune,


solicit; demand: Bryan pleaded with us to let him go to the


rock concert. 3 assert, say, aver, allege, argue, maintain,


offer, put forward, declare, affirm, avow, swear: She pleaded


that she was unaware that the goods she was selling had been



pleasant adj. 1 pleasing, pleasurable, nice, enjoyable, satisfying, good, lovely, attractive, inviting, enjoyable, gratifying, delightful, charming, agreeable, suitable, fitting, appropriate; harmonious, euphonious, melodic, mellifluous; delicious, delectable, palatable, savoury, toothsome: Travelling on the Orient Express was a most pleasant experience. The bedroom is decorated in a combination of pleasant colours. He simply doesn't find sunbathing particularly pleasant. That sauce has a

very pleasant taste. 2 friendly, affable, amiable, amicable, gregarious, companionable, sociable, engaging, attractive, winning, open, approachable, outgoing, welcoming, hospitable, agreeable, gracious, charming, congenial, genial, nice, likeable, urbane, cultivated, genteel, polite, courteous, well-mannered, suave, debonair, polished, well-bred, cultured:

Murray always has a pleasant expression on his face. He is quite a pleasant fellow, once you get to know him. 3 fair, sunny, clear, bright, cloudless, balmy, nice, fine: What a pleasant

day for an outing in the country!

please v. 1 delight, gratify, satisfy, suit, humour, content, cheer, gladden, amuse, divert, interest, entertain: I cannot tell you how much it pleases me to see you again. 2 like, prefer, choose, desire, want, see fit, wish, will, elect, opt: She may have her birthday party wherever she pleases.

pleased adj. happy, delighted, glad, gratified, satisfied, contented, thrilled; Colloq tickled pink, pleased as Punch, on cloud nine, in seventh heaven, on top of the world, walking on air, Brit

over the moon, chuffed: His pleased look comes from his having won first prize.

pleasing adj. 1 See pleasant, 1, above. 2 See pleasant, 2, above.


adj. See pleasant, 1, above.

pleasure n. 1 enjoyment, happiness, delight, joy, satisfaction, fulfilment, contentment, gratification; comfort, recreation, amusement, entertainment, diversion: It is a pleasure to meet you at last. Fred derives so much pleasure from tinkering with his model railways. 2 choice, option, desire, wish, preference, fancy, inclination, discretion: Feel free to come and go at your pleasure.

plebeian adj. 1 proletarian, working-class, blue-collar, low-class, lower-class, lowly, low-born, common, mean, humble, inferior, peasant-like, Colloq non-U: What would you expect from someone with such a plebeian background? 2 unrefined, coarse, vulgar, ignoble, lowbrow, unpolished, uncouth, crass, brutish, gauche, provincial, rustic, popular, commonplace, undistinguished: The entertainment caters to the most plebeian tastes.

--n. 3 proletarian, common man or woman, commoner, man or woman in the street, (any or every) Tom, Dick, or Harry, Brit man or

woman on the Clapham omnibus, Colloq pleb, prole: This art exhibition is not going to mean very much to the plebeians.


n. popular vote or ballot, referendum, poll: The plebiscite revealed that the people were in favour of joining the Common Market.

pledge n. 1 promise, oath, vow, word (of honour), covenant, assurance, guaranty, guarantee, warrant, warranty: They have our solemn pledge that we will return within the hour. 2 bail, surety, collateral, security, deposit, earnest (money), pawn, gage,

bond, guaranty, guarantee: They wanted something besides my signature as a pledge for the money. 3 toast, tribute, cheer, health: They drank a pledge to the success of the voyage.

--v. 4 swear, vow, promise, give one's word (of honour), contract, undertake, agree, vouch, vouchsafe: I pledge allegiance to the nation. 5 deposit, pawn, mortgage, Archaic

gage, Colloq US and Canadian hock: He pledged his gold watch to pay for her birthday present. 6 toast, drink (to), drink

(someone's) health: Drink to me only with thine eyes And I will pledge with mine.

plentiful adj. 1 ample, abundant, profuse, copious, lavish, plenteous, bountiful, generous, bounteous: We found a plentiful supply of food in the markets. 2 fertile, fruitful, productive, bumper, luxuriant, thriving, prolific: We thanked the Lord for a plentiful harvest.

plenty n. 1 abundance, more than enough, great deal, mass(es), quantity or quantities, multitude(s), number(s), load(s), mess, scores, Colloq lot(s), mountain(s), heap(s), stack(s), pile(s), load(s), ton(s), ocean(s), oodles, US and Canadian slew(s): There is plenty of food, so it is just as well that plenty of people are coming. There's plenty of time before your bus arrives. 2 plentifulness, fertility, copiousness, abundance, plenteousness, wealth, profusion, lavishness, prodigality, plenitude, bountifulness: It was a land of plenty, a land of milk and honey.

pliable adj. 1 flexible, pliant, elastic, plastic, fictile, malleable, workable, bendable, bendy, ductile, flexuous, supple; lithe, limber: This substance remains pliable only while it is warm. 2 tractable, adaptable, flexible, pliant, compliant, persuadable


or persuasible, impressionable, susceptible, responsive,


receptive, docile, manageable, yielding: The other directors


may not be as pliable when it comes to improving employee




n. condition, state, circumstances, situation, case;


difficulty, predicament, quandary, dilemma, catch-22, straits,


trouble, extremity, Colloq hole, jam, pickle, spot, scrape, fix,


bind, hot water, mess, fine kettle of fish, fine state of


affairs: As soon as Elliott's sorry plight became known, we all


rallied round to help.


v. 1 Often, plod along. trudge (along), tramp, slog, drag,


tread, lumber, labour, Colloq stomp, galumph: We plodded


wearily up the road carrying our heavy packs. 2 Often, plod


along or away. labour, work, drudge, toil, moil, slave (away),


grind (away or along), grub (on or along), plug (along or away),


Brit peg away (at) or along: Plodding through the compilation


of the Oxford Thesaurus, he was only halfway through the letter




n. 1 scheme, plan, intrigue, machination, cabal; conspiracy:


The plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament was uncovered at a


late stage. 2 story (line), chain of events, theme, outline,


scenario, thread, skeleton: Most operas have weak plots, but


the music can be sublime.


--v. 3 scheme, plan, intrigue, machinate, cabal, collude,


conspire, hatch, devise, design, arrange, organize, concoct,


dream up, conceive, Colloq cook up: Martin's wife had been


plotting to murder him since their wedding night. 4 draw, plan,


diagram, lay down, outline, calculate, compute, figure, chart,


map (out), find, determine, depict, show: The navigator plotted


our position as being in the Strait of Malacca.


n. lot, plat, patch or parcel (of land), tract, acreage, area,


Brit allotment: I have a small plot by the canal which is ideal


for growing potatoes.

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