plight

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English[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

  • enPR: plīt, IPA(key): /plaɪt/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -aɪt

Etymology 1[edit]

From 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)).

Noun[edit]

plight (plural plights)

  1. A dire or unfortunate situation. [from 14th c.]
    • 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.
    • 2011 December 10, Arindam Rej, “Norwich 4-2 Newcastle”, in BBC Sport:
      Gosling's plight worsened when he was soon shown a red card for a foul on Martin.
    • 2020 June 17, Philip Haigh, “Capital for the capital to meet London's transport needs”, in Rail, page 28:
      Despite spending £1 billion of its own resources, that balanced budget became impossible and forced TfL to issue a 'Section 114' notice of impending financial plight and go to the government for support.
  2. (now rare) A (neutral) condition or state. [from 14th c.]
  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-West Germanic *plihti (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), Danish pligt (duty), Yiddish פֿליכט(flikht). More at pledge.

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.
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]

From Middle English plyghten, plyȝten, pleyȝten, pleiten, pliten, from the noun (see below).

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.

Etymology 4[edit]

From Middle English pliȝt, plight, plyt, pleit, from Anglo-Norman pleit (pleat, fold). More at plait.

Noun[edit]

plight (plural plights)

  1. (obsolete) A network; a plait; a fold; rarely a garment.

Further reading[edit]