One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A plate on a barometer marked with a scale of atmospheric pressure and the supposed weather conditions corresponding to different pressures. Now historical.
2An adjustable metal plate, usually in a grate or chimney, which enables the passage of air, heat, or smoke to be regulated. Also (later): an adjustable metal vent in a wall or floor allowing the passage of air from a central heating system.
3Rope-making. A rotating disc with concentric holes through which strands are drawn and twisted in the making of rope or yarn.
Late 17th century. From register + plate.
register plate/ˈrɛdʒɪstə ˌpleɪt/
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