A plate is a flat dish meant for serving one person's portion of food. It would make perfect sense to eat spaghetti from a plate, but you probably shouldn't use a plate for your soup.

While plates can be any shape and made of various materials (including plastic, metal, or paper), they're usually round and ceramic. You can also use this handy noun to mean "the amount of food that fits on a plate;" a sheet of glass or metal; a license plate; or a rigid section of the earth's surface. As a verb, plate means "to coat in metal" or "to arrange food attractively on a plate."

Definitions of plate
  1. noun
    dish on which food is served or from which food is eaten
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    dessert plate
    a small plate on which dessert can be served
    dinner plate
    a plate from which a diner eats during the main course of a meal
    paper plate
    a disposable plate made of cardboard
    salad bowl, salad plate
    a plate or bowl for individual servings of salad
    soup plate
    a deep plate with a wide rim
    steel plate
    a plate of steel
    type of:
    tableware that is relatively flat and fashioned as a single piece
  2. noun
    the quantity contained in a plate
    synonyms: plateful
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    type of:
    the quantity that a container will hold
  3. noun
    a main course served on a plate
    “a vegetable plate
    “the blue plate special”
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    type of:
    entree, main course
    the principal dish of a meal
  4. noun
    a sheet of metal or wood or glass or plastic
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    baffle, baffle board
    a flat plate that controls or directs the flow of fluid or energy
    cylinder head
    a detachable plate that covers the closed end of a cylinder chamber in a reciprocating engine or pump
    a movable iron plate that regulates the draft in a stove or chimney or furnace
    disc, disk
    a flat circular plate
    a block or plate or other hard surface that has been engraved
    (nautical) a plate on a ship's stern on which the name is inscribed
    fin keel
    a metal plate projecting from the keel of a shallow vessel to give it greater lateral stability
    metal plate bolted along sides of two rails or beams
    grid, storage-battery grid
    a perforated or corrugated metal plate used in a storage battery as a conductor and support for the active material
    gusset, gusset plate
    a metal plate used to strengthen a joist
    thin plate
    license plate, numberplate
    a plate mounted on the front and back of car and bearing the car's registration number
    a square plate bearing the letter L that is attached to both ends of a car to indicate that the driver is a learner
    a plate bearing a name
    plate iron
    a plate of iron
    the flat plate of a printing press that presses the paper against the type
    plessimeter, pleximeter
    a small thin metal plate held against the body and struck with a plexor in percussive examinations
    a small metal plate that attaches to the toe or heel of a shoe (as in tap dancing)
    acetate disk, phonograph recording disk
    a disk coated with cellulose acetate
    thick plate iron used in the production of boilers
    brake disk
    a disk or plate that is fixed to the wheel; pressure is applied to it by the brake pads
    centerboard, centreboard, drop keel, sliding keel
    a retractable fin keel used on sailboats to prevent drifting to leeward
    copperplate, copperplate engraving
    an engraving consisting of a smooth plate of copper that has been etched or engraved
    (nautical) a round hardwood disk with holes and a grooved perimeter used to tighten a shroud
    electro-acoustic transducer that vibrates to receive or produce sound waves
    diffuser, diffusor
    baffle that distributes sound waves evenly
    discus, saucer
    a disk used in throwing competitions
    a nameplate fastened to a door; indicates the person who works or lives there
    an etched plate made with the use of acid
    a light, plastic disk about 10 inches in diameter; propelled with a flip of the wrist for recreation or competition
    a printing plate used in the process of gravure
    halftone, halftone engraving, photoengraving
    an engraving used to reproduce an illustration
    line block, line engraving, linecut
    engraving consisting of a block that has been etched or engraved
    coin blank, planchet
    a flat metal disk ready for stamping as a coin
    hockey puck, puck
    a vulcanized rubber disk 3 inches in diameter that is used instead of a ball in ice hockey
    sheet iron
    plate iron thinner than tank iron
    steel engraving
    engraving on a steel plate
    stovepipe iron
    plate iron that is thinner than tank iron
    tank iron
    plate iron that is thinner than boilerplate but thicker than sheet iron or stovepipe iron
    a metal or plastic disk that can be redeemed or used in designated slot machines
    wood block, wood engraving, woodcut
    engraving consisting of a block of wood with a design cut into it; used to make prints
    type of:
    flat solid, sheet
    a flat artifact that is thin relative to its length and width
  5. noun
    a shallow receptacle for collection in church
    synonyms: collection plate
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    type of:
    a container that is used to put or keep things in
  6. noun
    a flat sheet of metal or glass on which a photographic image can be recorded
    synonyms: photographic plate
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    quarter plate
    a photographic plate measuring 3.25 inches by 4.25 inches
    type of:
    flat solid, sheet
    a flat artifact that is thin relative to its length and width
  7. noun
    a full-page illustration (usually on slick paper)
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    fashion plate
    a plate illustrating the latest fashion in dress
    type of:
    a visual representation (a picture or diagram) that is used make some subject more pleasing or easier to understand
  8. noun
    a metal sheathing of uniform thickness (such as the shield attached to an artillery piece to protect the gunners)
    synonyms: scale, shell
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    armor plate, armor plating, armour plate, plate armor, plate armour
    specially hardened steel plate used to protect fortifications or vehicles from enemy fire
    horseshoe, shoe
    U-shaped plate nailed to underside of horse's hoof
    shell plating
    the plates covering the frame of a steel ship and corresponding to the planking of a wooden ship
    plate armor protecting the back; worn as part of a cuirass
    a movable piece of armor on a medieval helmet used to protect the lower face
    armor plate that protects the arm
    aegis, breastplate, egis
    armor plate that protects the chest; the front part of a cuirass
    (Middle Ages) a cylindrical piece of armor plate to protect the arm
    chamfron, chanfron, front-stall, frontstall, testiere
    medieval plate armor to protect a horse's head
    body armor that protects the elbow
    armor plate that protects the thigh
    armor plate that protects the shoulder
    a piece of armor plate below the breastplate
    armor plate that protects the neck
    greave, jambeau
    armor plate that protects legs below the knee
    armor plate that protects the head
    knee piece
    armor plate that protects the knee
    armor plate that protects the nose
    palette, pallette
    one of the rounded armor plates at the armpits of a suit of armor
    round piece of armor plate that protects the armpit
    skirt of tasses
    armor plate that protects the body below the waist
    sabaton, solleret
    armor plate that protects the foot; consists of mail with a solid toe and heel
    tasse, tasset
    one of two pieces of armor plate hanging from the fauld to protect the upper thighs
    armor plate that protects the hip and thigh
    visor, vizor
    a piece of armor plate (with eye slits) fixed or hinged to a medieval helmet to protect the face
    type of:
    a protective covering or structure
  9. verb
    coat with a layer of metal
    plate spoons with silver”
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    prepare (a metal) for soldering or brazing by applying a thin layer of solder to the surface
    plate with tin
    coat with a layer of silver or a silver amalgam
    plate with nickel
    coat with metal by electrolysis
    chrome, chromium-plate
    plate with chromium
    gold plate, gold-plate, goldplate
    plate with gold
    silver-plate, silverplate
    plate with silver
    type of:
    coat, surface
    put a coat on; cover the surface of; furnish with a surface
  10. noun
    any flat platelike body structure or part
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    a hard flap serving as a cover for (a) the gill slits in fishes or (b) the opening of the shell in certain gastropods when the body is retracted
    ciliated comb-like swimming plate of a ctenophore
    (paleontology) a bony plate that curves upward behind the skull of many ceratopsian dinosaurs
    a thin plate or layer (especially of bone or mineral)
    lamina arcus vertebrae
    lamina of the vertebral arch; the flattened posterior part of the vertebral arch from which the spinous process extends
    type of:
    anatomical structure, bodily structure, body structure, complex body part, structure
    a particular complex anatomical part of a living thing
  11. noun
    the thin under portion of the forequarter
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    type of:
    cut of beef
    cut of meat from beef cattle
  12. noun
    (baseball) base consisting of a rubber slab where the batter stands; it must be touched by a base runner in order to score
    synonyms: home, home base, home plate
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    type of:
    bag, base
    a place that the runner must touch before scoring
  13. noun
    the positively charged electrode in a vacuum tube
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    type of:
    a positively charged electrode by which electrons leave an electrical device
  14. noun
    structural member consisting of a horizontal beam that provides bearing and anchorage
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    wall plate
    plate (a timber along the top of a wall) to support the ends of joists, etc., and distribute the load
    type of:
    structural member
    support that is a constituent part of any structure or building
  15. noun
    a dental appliance that artificially replaces missing teeth
    synonyms: dental plate, denture
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    bridge, bridgework
    a denture anchored to teeth on either side of missing teeth
    false teeth
    a removable denture
    partial denture
    a denture replacing one or more teeth in a dental arch
    type of:
    dental appliance
    a device to repair teeth or replace missing teeth
  16. noun
    a rigid layer of the Earth's crust that is believed to drift slowly
    synonyms: crustal plate
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    type of:
    Earth's crust, crust
    the outer layer of the Earth
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