One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A piece of metal or porcelain fixed to a door to prevent marks being left on the surface of the door when it is opened or closed.
2Embryology. In an early embryo: an expanded, flattened area of tissue at the end of the limb-bud of the forelimb, which develops into the hand or forefoot.
Early 19th century. From hand + plate.
hand plate/ˈhan(d) ˌpleɪt/
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