plight

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English[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

Middle English plit (fold, wrinkle, bad situation), conflation of Middle English pliht, plight (risky promise, peril) (from Old English pliht "danger, risk") and Anglo-Norman plit, plyte (fold, condition), from Old French pleit (condition, manner of folding) (from Vulgar Latin *plictum, from Latin plicitum (fold)).

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

plight (plural plights)

  1. A dire or unfortunate situation. [from 14th c.]
    • 2011 December 10, Arindam Rej, “Norwich 4-2 Newcastle”, BBC Sport:
      A second Norwich goal in four minutes arrived after some dire Newcastle defending. Gosling gave the ball away with a sloppy back-pass, allowing Crofts to curl in a cross that the unmarked Morison powered in with a firm, 12-yard header. ¶ Gosling's plight worsened when he was soon shown a red card for a foul on Martin.
    • 2005, Lesley Brown, translating Plato, Sophist, 243c:
      Though we say we are quite clear about it and understand when someone uses the expression, unlike that other expression, maybe we're in the same plight with regard to them both.
  2. (now rare) A (neutral) condition or state. [from 14th c.]
    • 1603, John Florio, translating Michel de Montaigne, Essays, II.8:
      although hee live in as good plight and health as may be, yet he chafeth, he scoldeth, he brawleth, he fighteth, he sweareth, and biteth, as the most boistrous and tempestuous master of France [].
  3. (obsolete) Good health. [14th-19th c.]
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, III.7:
      All wayes shee sought him to restore to plight, / With herbs, with charms, with counsel, and with teares [].
Translations[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English plight (risk, danger), from Old English pliht (peril, risk, danger, damage, plight), from Proto-Germanic *plihtiz (care, responsibility, duty). A suffixed form of the root represented by Old English pleoh (risk, danger, hurt, peril"; also "responsibility) and plēon (to endanger, risk). Akin to Old English plihtan (to endanger, compromise). Cognate with Scots plicht (responsibility, plight), Dutch plicht, Low German plicht (duty), German Pflicht (duty). More at pledge.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

plight (plural plights)

  1. (now chiefly dialectal) Responsibility for ensuing consequences; risk; danger; peril.
  2. (now chiefly dialectal) An instance of danger or peril; a dangerous moment or situation.
  3. (now chiefly dialectal) Blame; culpability; fault; wrong-doing; sin; crime.
  4. (now chiefly dialectal) One's office; duty; charge.
  5. (archaic) That which is exposed to risk; that which is plighted or pledged; security; a gage; a pledge.
    • Shakespeare
      that lord whose hand must take my plight
Derived terms[edit]
Translations[edit]

Verb[edit]

plight (third-person singular simple present plights, present participle plighting, simple past and past participle plighted)

  1. (transitive, now rare) To expose to risk; to pledge.
  2. (transitive) Specifically, to pledge (one's troth etc.) as part of a marriage ceremony.
  3. (reflexive) To promise (oneself) to someone, or to do something.
    • 1992, Hilary Mantel, A Place of Greater Safety, Harper Perennial 2007, p. 226:
      I ask what I have done to deserve it, one daughter hobnobbing with radicals and the other planning to plight herself to a criminal.
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 3[edit]

Through Old French, from Latin plectare. German flechten (to plait) and Danish flette are probably unrelated.

Pronunciation[edit]

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Verb[edit]

plight (third-person singular simple present plights, present participle plighting, simple past and past participle plighted)

  1. (obsolete) To weave; to braid; to fold; to plait.
    • Milton
      A plighted garment of divers colors.

Noun[edit]

plight (plural plights)

  1. (obsolete) A network; a plait; a fold; rarely a garment.
    • Spenser
      Many a folded plight.