A plant is a living thing that loves dirt, sun, and water but can’t move. That tree outside? Plant. Your dog? Not a plant. A plant can also be a factory, like a nuclear power plant.

Trees, flowers, and vegetables are all plants, and you help them get started every time you plant a seed in soil. Another kind of plant is a factory or another business where goods are manufactured, and then there's the plant that means "spy or informer." The Latin root of plant is planta, "sprout or shoot," which may stem from plantare, "push into the ground with the feet," from planta, "sole of the foot."

Primary Meanings of plant

(botany) a living organism lacking the power of locomotion
put or set (seeds, seedlings, or plants) into the ground
something planted secretly for discovery by another
place something or someone in a certain position in order to secretly observe or deceive
buildings for carrying on industrial labor
Full Definitions of plant

n (botany) a living organism lacking the power of locomotion

flora, plant life
(Norse mythology) a huge ash tree whose roots and branches hold the earth and Heaven and Hell together
show 104 types...
hide 104 types...
photosynthetic or plant constituent of plankton; mainly unicellular algae
microscopic plants; bacteria are often considered to be microflora
a cultivated plant that is grown commercially on a large scale
a plant that is native to a certain limited area
an organism that produces its own food by photosynthesis
non-flowering plant
a plant that does not bear flowers
a young plant or a small plant
a wild uncultivated plant (especially a wild apple or crabapple tree)
any plant grown for its beauty or ornamental value
pot plant
a plant suitable for growing in a flowerpot (especially indoors)
any flowerless plant such as a fern (pteridophyte) or moss (bryophyte) in which growth occurs only at the tip of the main stem
a plant that reproduces or is reproduced by apomixis
a plant that lives in or on water
formerly recognized taxonomic group including all flowerless and seedless plants that reproduce by means of spores: ferns, mosses, algae, fungi
(botany) a plant that completes its entire life cycle within the space of a year
(botany) a plant having a life cycle that normally takes two seasons from germination to death to complete; flowering biennials usually bloom and fruit in the second season
(botany) a plant lasting for three seasons or more
a plant originally cultivated but now growing wild
a plant that grows in a moist habitat
a plant that is found in an area where it had not been recorded previously
(botany) a minute rudimentary plant contained within a seed or an archegonium
monocarp, monocarpic plant, monocarpous plant
a plant that bears fruit once and dies
the spore-producing individual or phase in the life cycle of a plant having alternation of generations
the gamete-bearing individual or phase in the life cycle of a plant having alternation of generations
any of a variety of plants grown indoors for decorative purposes
garden plant
any of a variety of plants usually grown especially in a flower or herb garden
tracheophyte, vascular plant
green plant having a vascular system: ferns, gymnosperms, angiosperms
poisonous plant
a plant that when touched or ingested in sufficient quantity can be harmful or fatal to an organism
aerophyte, air plant, epiphyte, epiphytic plant
plant that derives moisture and nutrients from the air and rain; usually grows on another plant but not parasitic on it
rock plant
plant that grows on or among rocks or is suitable for a rock garden
autophyte, autophytic plant, autotroph, autotrophic organism
plant capable of synthesizing its own food from simple organic substances
plant that affords shelter or food to ants that live in symbiotic relations with it
planktonic algae
unicellular algae
microscopic unicellular marine or freshwater colonial alga having cell walls impregnated with silica
any of a group of cryptogamic organisms consisting principally of a thallus and thus showing no differentiation into stem and root and leaf
nonflowering plant, pteridophyte
plants having vascular tissue and reproducing by spores
phanerogam, seed plant, spermatophyte
plant that reproduces by means of seeds not spores
wild flower, wildflower
wild or uncultivated flowering plant
the female gametophyte produced by the megaspore of a plant that produces both microspore and megaspores
the male gametophyte produced by a microspore
any of various usually poisonous plants of the genus Aconitum having tuberous roots and palmately lobed leaves and blue or white flowers
baneberry, cohosh, herb Christopher
a plant of the genus Actaea having acrid poisonous berries
any plant of the Eurasian genus Helleborus
any of several poisonous perennial plants of the genus Apocynum having acrid milky juice and bell-shaped white or pink flowers and a very bitter root
Nerium oleander, oleander, rose bay
an ornamental but poisonous flowering shrub having narrow evergreen leaves and clusters of fragrant white to pink or red flowers: native to East Indies but widely cultivated in warm regions
Aglaonema modestum, Chinese evergreen, Japanese leaf
erect or partially climbing herb having large green or variegated leaves
anthurium, tail-flower, tailflower
any of various tropical American plants cultivated for their showy foliage and flowers
Rivina humilis, blood berry, bloodberry, rouge plant, rougeberry
bushy houseplant having white to pale pink flowers followed by racemes of scarlet berries; tropical Americas
Gynura aurantiaca, purple velvet plant, royal velvet plant, velvet plant
Javanese foliage plant grown for their handsome velvety leaves with violet-purple hairs
flowering maple
an ornamental plant of the genus Abutilon having leaves that resemble maple leaves
herb, herbaceous plant
a plant lacking a permanent woody stem; many are flowering garden plants or potherbs; some having medicinal properties; some are pests
Exacum affine, Persian violet
perennial cultivated especially as a houseplant for its fragrant bluish to dark lavender flowers
Clusia insignis, waxflower
epiphytic clusia of British Guiana
plant growing naturally in very salty soil
Gloriosa superba, climbing lily, creeping lily, gloriosa, glory lily
any plant of the genus Gloriosa of tropical Africa and Asia; a perennial herb climbing by means of tendrils at leaf tips having showy yellow to red or purple flowers; all parts are poisonous
Spanish moss, Tillandsia usneoides, black moss, long moss, old man's beard
dense festoons of greenish-grey hairlike flexuous strands anchored to tree trunks and branches by sparse wiry roots; southeastern United States and West Indies to South America
Symphoricarpos alba, common snowberry, snowberry, waxberry
deciduous shrub of western North America having spikes of pink flowers followed by round white berries
American holly, Christmas holly
an evergreen tree
Rhus vernix, Toxicodendron vernix, poison ash, poison dogwood, poison sumac
smooth American swamp shrub with pinnate leaves and greenish flowers followed by greenish white berries; yields an irritating oil
Rhus radicans, Toxicodendron radicans, markweed, poison ivy, poison mercury, poison oak
climbing plant common in eastern and central United States with ternate leaves and greenish flowers followed by white berries; yields an irritating oil that causes a rash on contact
Rhus diversiloba, Toxicodendron diversilobum, western poison oak
poisonous shrub of the Pacific coast of North America that causes a rash on contact
Rhus quercifolia, Rhus toxicodenedron, Toxicodendron quercifolium, eastern poison oak
poisonous shrub of southeastern United States causing a rash on contact
Chinese lacquer tree, Japanese lacquer tree, Japanese sumac, Japanese varnish tree, Rhus verniciflua, Toxicodendron vernicifluum, lacquer tree, varnish tree
small Asiatic tree yielding a toxic exudate from which lacquer is obtained
a plant of the genus Aeschynanthus having somewhat red or orange flowers and seeds having distinctive hairs at base and apex
any plant of the genus Episcia; usually creeping and stoloniferous and of cascading habit; grown for their colorful foliage and flowers
any of several plants of the genera Gloxinia or Sinningia (greenhouse gloxinias) having showy bell-shaped flowers
shrubby herb cultivated for their soft velvety foliage and showy scarlet flowers
any of various ornamental plants of the genus Plectranthus
a flowering shrub
Aethusa cynapium, fool's parsley, lesser hemlock
European weed naturalized in America that resembles parsley but causes nausea and poisoning when eaten
Cicuta verosa, water hemlock
tall erect highly poisonous Eurasiatic perennial herb locally abundant in marshy areas
spotted cowbane, spotted hemlock, spotted water hemlock
tall biennial water hemlock of northeastern North America having purple-spotted stems and clusters of extremely poisonous tuberous roots resembling small sweet potatoes
California fern, Conium maculatum, Nebraska fern, hemlock, poison hemlock, poison parsley, winter fern
large branching biennial herb native to Eurasia and Africa and adventive in North America having large fernlike leaves and white flowers; usually found in damp habitats; all parts extremely poisonous
Eryngium yuccifolium, button snakeroot, rattlesnake master, rattlesnake's master
coarse prickly perennial eryngo of United States thought to cure rattlesnake bite
Oenanthe crocata, hemlock water dropwort, water dropwort
European poisonous herb having tuberous roots, yellow juice that stains the skin, yellow flowers and foliage resembling celery; all parts extremely poisonous
Oenanthe aquatica, water fennel
European poisonous herb with fibrous roots
bedder, bedding plant
an ornamental plant suitable for planting in a flowerbed
a plant adapted to arid conditions and characterized by fleshy water-storing tissues that act as water reservoirs
a variety of a plant developed from a natural species and maintained under cultivation
cultivated plant
plants that are grown for their produce
any plant that crowds out cultivated plants
cash crop
a readily salable crop that is grown and gathered for the market (as vegetables or cotton or tobacco)
catch crop
a crop that grows quickly (e.g. lettuce) and can be planted between two regular crops grown in successive seasons or between two rows of crops in the same season
cover crop
crop planted to prevent soil erosion and provide green manure
field crop
a crop (other than fruits or vegetables) that is grown for agricultural purposes
evergreen, evergreen plant
a plant having foliage that persists and remains green throughout the year
deciduous plant
a plant having foliage that is shed annually at the end of the growing season
a plant with a weak stem that derives support from climbing, twining, or creeping along a surface
any plant (as ivy or periwinkle) that grows by creeping
ligneous plant, woody plant
a plant having hard lignified tissues or woody parts especially stems
a perennial plant that propagates by underground bulbs or tubers or corms
desert plant, xerophile, xerophilous plant, xerophyte, xerophytic plant
plant adapted for life with a limited supply of water; compare hydrophyte and mesophyte
mesophyte, mesophytic plant
land plant growing in surroundings having an average supply of water; compare xerophyte and hydrophyte
aquatic plant, hydrophyte, hydrophytic plant, water plant
a plant that grows partly or wholly in water whether rooted in the mud, as a lotus, or floating without anchorage, as the water hyacinth
hemiepiphyte, semiepiphyte
a plant that is an epiphyte for part of its life
strangler, strangler tree
an epiphytic vine or tree whose aerial roots extend down the trunk of a supporting tree and coalesce around it eventually strangling the tree
lithophyte, lithophytic plant
plant that grows on rocks or stony soil and derives nourishment from the atmosphere
rupestral plant, rupestrine plant, rupicolous plant, saxicolous plant
plants growing among rocks
root crop
crop grown for its enlarged roots: e.g. beets; potatoes; turnips
tuberous plant
plant growing from a tuber
bulbous plant
plant growing from a bulb
cormous plant
plant growing from a corm
any plant of the order Psilophytales: a savannah plant
any plant or fossil of the genus Psilophyton
Type of:
being, organism
a living thing that has (or can develop) the ability to act or function independently

v put or set (seeds, seedlings, or plants) into the ground

“Let's plant flowers in the garden”
show 10 types...
hide 10 types...
plant by the roots
dip into mud before planting
plant in checkrows
place (plants) in a prepared bed of soil
plant with a wooden hand tool
afforest, forest
establish a forest on previously unforested land
plant again or anew
plant with trees
reestablish a forest after clear-cutting or fire, etc.
forest anew
Type of:
lay, place, pose, position, put, set
put into a certain place or abstract location

v place into a river

plant fish”
Type of:
provide or furnish with a stock of something

v fix or set securely or deeply

“He planted a knee in the back of his opponent”
embed, engraft, imbed, implant
show 5 types...
hide 5 types...
plant in a pot
fit together or fit inside
bury, sink
embed deeply
put in a new, usually larger, pot
countersink, set
insert (a nail or screw below the surface, as into a countersink)
Type of:
enter, infix, insert, introduce
put or introduce into something

v set up or lay the groundwork for

constitute, establish, found, institute
show 4 types...
hide 4 types...
set or place definitely
appoint, constitute, name, nominate
create and charge with a task or function
set up a committee or legislative body with one's own supporters so as to influence the outcome
appoint summarily or commandeer
Type of:
initiate, pioneer
take the lead or initiative in; participate in the development of

v put firmly in the mind

Plant a thought in the students' minds”
Type of:
communicate, pass, pass along, pass on, put across
transmit information

n something planted secretly for discovery by another

“the police used a plant to trick the thieves”
“he claimed that the evidence against him was a plant
Type of:
contrivance, dodge, stratagem
an elaborate or deceitful scheme contrived to deceive or evade

n an actor situated in the audience whose acting is rehearsed but seems spontaneous to the audience

Type of:
actor, histrion, player, role player, thespian
a theatrical performer

v place something or someone in a certain position in order to secretly observe or deceive

Plant a spy in Moscow”
plant bugs in the dissident's apartment”
Type of:
lay, place, pose, position, put, set
put into a certain place or abstract location

n buildings for carrying on industrial labor

“they built a large plant to manufacture automobiles”
industrial plant, works
United States Mint
the mint that manufactures and distributes United States coins for circulation through Federal Reserve Banks; processes gold and silver bullion
show 27 types...
hide 27 types...
bottling plant
a plant where beverages are put into bottles with caps
a plant where beer is brewed by fermentation
distillery, still
a plant and works where alcoholic drinks are made by distillation
factory, manufactory, manufacturing plant, mill
a plant consisting of one or more buildings with facilities for manufacturing
a plant where money is coined by authority of the government
packing plant, packinghouse
a plant where livestock are slaughtered and processed and packed as meat products
recycling plant
a plant for reprocessing used or abandoned materials
an industrial plant for purifying a crude substance
a plant where salt is produced commercially
disposal plant, sewage disposal plant
a plant for disposing of sewage
smelter, smeltery
an industrial plant for smelting
assembly plant
a factory where manufactured parts are assembled into a finished product
auto factory, automobile factory, car factory
a factory where automobiles are manufactured
a combination brewery and restaurant; beer is brewed for consumption on the premises and served along with food
a factory where food is canned
chemical plant
an industrial plant where chemicals are produced
foundry, metalworks
factory where metal castings are produced
lumbermill, sawmill
a mill for dressing logs and lumber
a small brewery; consumption of the product is mainly elsewhere
oil refinery, petroleum refinery
a refinery for petroleum
paper mill
a mill where paper is manufactured
stamp mill, stamping mill
a mill in which ore is crushed with stamps
steel factory, steel mill, steel plant, steelworks
a factory where steel is made
sugar refinery
a refinery for sugar
factory where workers do piecework for poor pay and are prevented from forming unions; common in the clothing industry
textile mill
a factory for making textiles
wine maker, winery
distillery where wine is made
Type of:
building complex, complex
a whole structure (as a building) made up of interconnected or related structures

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.