Etymology: Middle English, from Old English
Date: before 12th century
a. a small area of planted ground <a vegetable plot> b. a small piece of land in a cemetery c. a measured piece of land ; lot 2. ground plan, plat 3. the plan or main story (as of a movie or literary work) 4. [perhaps back-formation from complot] a secret plan for accomplishing a usually evil or unlawful end ; intrigue 5. a graphic representation (as a chart) • plotless adjective • plotlessness noun Synonyms: plot, intrigue, machination, conspiracy, cabal mean a plan secretly devised to accomplish an evil or treacherous end. plot implies careful foresight in planning a complex scheme <an assassination plot>. intrigue suggests secret underhanded maneuvering in an atmosphere of duplicity <backstairs intrigue>. machination implies a contriving of annoyances, injuries, or evils by indirect means <the machinations of a party boss>. conspiracy implies a secret agreement among several people usually involving treason or great treachery <a conspiracy to fix prices>. cabal typically applies to political intrigue involving persons of some eminence <a cabal among powerful senators>. Synonym: see in addition plan. II. verb (plotted; plotting) Date: 1588 transitive verb 1. a. to make a plot, map, or plan of b. to mark or note on or as if on a map or chart 2. to lay out in plots 3. a. to locate (a point) by means of coordinates b. to locate (a curve) by plotted points c. to represent (an equation) by means of a curve so constructed 4. to plan or contrive especially secretly 5. to invent or devise the plot of (as a movie or a literary work) intransitive verb 1. to form a plot ; scheme 2. to be located by means of coordinates <the data plot at a single point>
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.