1 a living organism of the kind exemplified by trees, shrubs, herbs, grasses, ferns, and mosses, typically growing in a permanent site, absorbing water and inorganic substances through its roots, and synthesizing nutrients in its leaves by photosynthesis using the green pigment chlorophyll.
• a small organism of this kind, as distinct from a shrub or tree : garden plants.
Plants differ from animals in lacking specialized sense organs, having no capacity for voluntary movement, having cell walls, and growing to suit their surroundings rather than having a fixed body plan.
2 a place where an industrial or manufacturing process takes place : the company has 30 plants in Mexico.
• machinery used in an industrial or manufacturing process : inadequate investment in new plant.
• any system that is analyzed and controlled, e.g., the dynamic equations of an aircraft or the equations governing chemical processes.
3 a person placed in a group as a spy or informer : we thought he was a CIA plant spreading disinformation.
• a thing put among someone's belongings to incriminate or compromise them : he insisted that the cocaine in the glove compartment was a plant.
verb [ trans. ]
1 place (a seed, bulb, or plant) in the ground so that it can grow. " place a seed, bulb, or plant in (a place) to grow : the garden is planted with herbs.
• informal bury (someone).
2 [ trans. ] place or fix in a specified position : she planted a kiss on his cheek.
• (plant oneself) position oneself : she planted herself on the arm of his chair.
• establish (an idea) in someone's mind : the seed of doubt is planted in his mind.
• secretly place (a bomb that is set to go off at a later time).
• put or hide (something) among someone's belongings to compromise or incriminate the owner : he planted drugs on him to extort a bribe.
• send (someone) to join a group or organization to act as a spy or informer.
• found or establish (a colony, city, or community).
• deposit (young fish, spawn, oysters, etc.) in a river or lake.
have (or keep) one's feet firmly planted on the ground be (or remain) level-headed and sensible.
plantlet |-lit| noun
plantlike |-līk| adjective
ORIGIN Old English plante [seedling,] plantian (verb), from Latin planta ‘sprout, cutting’ (later influenced by French plante) and plantare ‘plant, fix in a place.’