Definition of plait in English:



  • 1British A single length of hair, straw, rope, or other material made up of three or more interlaced strands.

    ‘she wore her dark hair in plaits’
    • ‘The woman is slim, young, with blonde hair in plaits.’
    • ‘She then proceeded to braid her long red hair into a plait and wrap it around her head like a crown.’
    • ‘I brushed my hair, then braided it in a single plait down my back that hung to my waist.’
    • ‘Her skin was richly cocoa-colored, her hair was pulled into a single plait and her native accent was strong.’
    • ‘Her flaxen hair was drawn back in a single plait bound with cord.’
    • ‘But the Qing were also Manchu invaders, who forced every Chinese man to wear his hair in a long plait as a sign of subjection and instigated a literary inquisition that codified what could and could not be read in China.’
    • ‘There was a room full of women's hair, and amongst the hair was a single plait, like Sally has sometimes.’
    • ‘Her body, carved and faceted with all of the concentrated vigor of an Expressionist woodcut and burnished a brick red, gives way to a thick plait of wiry gray hair.’
    • ‘She wore her reddish hair in two long plaits, bound with golden cord.’
    • ‘A girl suspended from school after refusing to remove her new hair extensions and plaits will not be returning to her classroom - even though her hair is back to normal.’
    • ‘The girl had her hair in pigtails or plaits and was wearing a purple coat, black shoes, white tights and a dark skirt.’
    • ‘She has red-brown, extremely long hair, usually tied in a plait with two dreadlocks behind each ear.’
    • ‘She wore her long dark hair in side plait and she wore red tracksuit bottoms and a hooded top.’
    • ‘She stopped and tilted her head to the side, but her dark hair remained plastered to her forehead, a few frizzy strands escaping her plait.’
    • ‘Most maiden spirits have complicated arched or mounded hairstyles adorned with coiled plaits and combs.’
    • ‘After several plaits, there will be no loose hair left to gather.’
    • ‘She put her hair into two plaits and walked the rest of the way to school.’
    • ‘She looked so pretty, clad in a cornflower blue silk dress that matched her eyes, and wearing her hair in a complex plait; tiny ringlets framing her face.’
    • ‘Black strands were falling from her firm plait of hair, and her face looked ashen in the firelight.’
    • ‘With his trademark single flaxen plait snaking lazily down his jumper, Britain's leading organic gardener certainly appears to practise what he preaches.’
    tress, tuft, curl
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  • 2

    archaic term for pleat
    • ‘The long train skirt is in a plait and trimmed up the aides with lace to the wrist and on in shell shape.’


[with object]
  • 1Form (hair, straw, rope, or other material) into a plait or plaits.

    ‘her hair had been plaited and coiled at the back of her head’
    • ‘She plaited her long hair into one braid down her back.’
    • ‘Her silky dark hair had been plaited into ten different braids, and then coiled together on top of her head.’
    • ‘Her hair was plaited into one long heavy braid hanging down her back, presumably for ease when travelling.’
    • ‘Personally, this sheds light on the hours I spent as a child fidgeting anxiously between my momma's, grandma's or aunt's knees while they parted, greased and plaited my hair.’
    • ‘He gently combed the tangles out of her hair and deftly plaited a long simple braid.’
    • ‘She had finished plaiting my hair into the two long plaits that I wore everyday.’
    • ‘One day during that festive week his youngest wife went to plait her hair and forgot to return to his compound to fix her part of his afternoon meal.’
    • ‘Over the top of the head, long locks of hair are plaited together in a braid that falls in a loop behind the occiput, with its end secured to the rest of the braid by a small band or fillet.’
    • ‘He had long coarse grey hair that was plaited in a braid down his back.’
    • ‘She began to plait her long white hair over her shoulder, yanking the tangles apart without grimacing.’
    • ‘Mama told me to wear my lavender morning dress and to plait my hair with the matching ribbons I had.’
    • ‘Today her blonde hair is plaited into French braids elaborately tied with huge dark blue and white ribbons, and she's wearing a short, dark blue denim skirt with her tan Uggs.’
    • ‘He left a few chunks of hair free along the hairline to cornrow and plait over the existing cornrows.’
    • ‘She walked over to Margaret and began to plait her hair, her strong fingers moving swiftly over Margaret's light brown hair.’
    • ‘Then she plaited her hair and put it up under a short headdress and veil.’
    • ‘Amy had long, cappuccino blonde hair that was plaited, smooth pale skin, thick, full lips and ocean blue eyes.’
    • ‘Her lip had healed over night, and her long hair had been plaited and gathered at the nape of her neck.’
    • ‘I dressed myself as quickly as possible, foregoing my usually headscarf by simply plaiting my hair loosely.’
    • ‘‘I'll show you how to wash and plait long hair, kid,’ he offered.’
    • ‘She shook her head to physically remove the thoughts from her mind, and she set about plaiting her hair into a braid, tying the end with a pale purple ribbon.’
    wind round, twist round, coil round, wrap round, weave, intertwine, interlink, interlace, interweave, interthread, criss-cross, entangle, tangle
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    1. 1.1 Make (something) by forming material into a plait or plaits.
      ‘a basket plaited from strips of flax’
      • ‘The ceremony took various forms, but most ended with the sheaf being taken back to the farm where it was plaited into an intricate ‘corn dolly’ or ‘mell doll’.’
      • ‘I watched the bread loaf being lovingly plaited as if surgery were being performed and wondered if eating haggis would be a comparable ritual for me.’
      • ‘He brought samples of flour and wheat seeds to explain how bread is made, and youngsters had a chance to have a go at plaiting dough.’
      • ‘It was also plaited or woven into a kind of rough cloth once sometimes called Russia matting, especially in Devon and Cornwall and in Lincolnshire.’
      • ‘Company sources told Business Line that they procured the coir, separated the fibre, sprayed fungicide to prevent termite infestation and then plaited it with thin bamboo sticks.’
      • ‘Children plait them, knot them, and turn them into anything from friendship bracelets to tiny dragons.’
      • ‘This core could be embellished by plaiting different grades of iron together in patterns to create beautiful ‘pattern welded’ blades.’
      • ‘Harvest the garlic (usually just after Christmas) lay them out on a path or verandah for a week or two until dry, brush them off, plait them together and hang them up.’
      • ‘He will bring ready-prepared dough and show the children how to plait dough, and the children will also be given the chance to take part in a plaiting competition.’
      • ‘Palm leaves and bark from trees are plaited to make most household utensils, such as baskets, mats, and fans.’
      • ‘Like their counterparts 60 years ago, the young visitors used fragments of fabric to create plaited rugs and a quilt.’
      • ‘They also cook, play cards, sing songs, baby-sit and plait rope out of camel wool.’
      • ‘So now all I have to do is plait the onions before I hang them in the garage.’
      • ‘She was suddenly interested in her hands, stubby fingers busy plaiting three strands of grass.’
      • ‘She had plaited a chain of daisies and wore it on her head.’
      • ‘This enables him to survey his ambitious narrative with the splendid omniscience he needs to plait the supple strands of his plot with all the skills of an Egyptian basket weaver.’
      • ‘If you want to plait the garlic, the leaves should be left as long as possible and moistened to make them supple.’
      • ‘Japanese basketmaking techniques with Kazue Honma: during her first visit to Europe, Kazue will teach the students how to make straw sandals using traditional Japanese plaiting techniques.’
      • ‘The woman was preparing pandanus and plaiting it.’
      • ‘She had plaited poppies to wear in her hair and scuffed the dust up with her bare feet.’
      interweave, braid, entwine, intertwine, interlace, knit, mesh
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Late Middle English: from Old French pleit ‘a fold’, based on Latin plicare ‘to fold’. The word was formerly often pronounced like ‘plate’; since late Middle English there has been an alternative spelling plat, to which the current pronunciation corresponds.