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sub- +‎ plot


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subplot (plural subplots)

  1. A plot within a story, subsidiary to the main plot.
    • 1978, R.B. Lee & R. Misiorowski, Script Models: A Handbook for the Media Writer,
      Subplot, a story line enclosed within the principal story to provide relief from the main plot's tension, add character dimension, etc.
    • 1998: Stephen Roy Miller, The Taming of a Shrew: the 1594 quarto
      Structurally, the two most variant scenes (outside of Scene ii) are Scenes 3 and 4 in which the compiler works out the variant subplot.
    • 2001: Dennis O'Neil, The DC Comics Guide to Writing Comics
      In a sense, Superman's romance with Lois Lane was a subplot and [...]
    • 2001, Nancy Arbuthnot Johnson, Vic Neufield, Forging Links for Health Research,
      But this story has a subplot — a subplot about fairness and how people have divergent levels of access to knowledge and resources.
  2. A subdivision of a plot of land, especially one used for an agricultural experiment.
    • 1996: The American Midland Naturalist, published by the University of Notre Dame
      [...] on sixteen 8/10-acre plots (12.8 acres) well distributed over the area. [...] A 1/160-acre subplot was established in a randomly chosen corner of each [...]
    • 1999, E. K. Sadanandan Nambiar, Christian Cossalter, Site Management and Productivity in Tropical Plantation Forest,
      There are 72 trees in each plot (6x12) and 36 trees in each subplot.
    • 2002, M. Boya Edwards, Proceedings for the Eight Biennial Southern Silvicultural Research Conference,
      Hardwood and shrub stems (besides gallberry) were counted by species and measured for total height (if greater than 2 ft) on 3 strip plots per subplot that were 0.01 acre […]




subplot (third-person singular simple present subplots, present participle subplotting, simple past and past participle subplotted)

  1. (transitive) To provide (a story) with a subplot.
    • 1965, Percival Hunt, The Gift of the Unicorn: Essays on Writing (page 70)
      In the pictures of places, too, an author uses economy; and for his plot, complicated and subplotted as it may seem, he cannot count on having vast stretches of eternity in which to elaborate forever.