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[pla-toh or, esp. British, plat-oh] /plæˈtoʊ or, esp. British, ˈplæt oʊ/

noun, plural plateaus, plateaux
[pla-tohz or, esp. British, plat-ohz] /plæˈtoʊz or, esp. British, ˈplæt oʊz/ (Show IPA)
a land area having a relatively level surface considerably raised above adjoining land on at least one side, and often cut by deep canyons.
a period or state of little or no growth or decline:
to reach a plateau in one’s career.
Psychology. a period of little or no apparent progress in an individual’s learning, marked by an inability to increase speed, reduce number of errors, etc., and indicated by a horizontal stretch in a learning curve or graph.
a flat stand, as for a centerpiece, sometimes extending the full length of a table.
verb (used without object), plateaued, plateauing.
to reach a state or level of little or no growth or decline, especially to stop increasing or progressing; remain at a stable level of achievement; level off:
After a period of uninterrupted growth, sales began to plateau.
verb (used with object), plateaued, plateauing.
to cause to remain at a stable level, especially to prevent from rising or progressing:
Rising inflation plateaued sales income.
noun (pl) -eaus, -eaux (-əʊz)
a wide mainly level area of elevated land
a relatively long period of stability; levelling off: the rising prices reached a plateau
verb (intransitive)
to remain at a stable level for a relatively long period
a state of central Nigeria, formed in 1976 from part of Benue-Plateau State: tin mining. Capital: Jos. Pop: 3 178 712 (2006). Area: 30 913 sq km (11 936 sq miles)

1796, “elevated tract of relatively level land,” from French plateau “table-land,” from Old French platel (12c.) “flat piece of metal, wood, etc.,” diminutive of plat “flat surface or thing,” noun use of adjective plat “flat, stretched out” (12c.), perhaps from Vulgar Latin *plattus, from Greek platys “flat, wide, broad” (see plaice). Meaning “stage at which no progress is apparent” is attested from 1897, originally in psychology of learning. In reference to sexual stimulation from 1960.

1952, from plateau (n.). Related: Plateaued; plateauing.
An elevated, comparatively level expanse of land. Plateaus make up about 45 percent of the Earth’s land surface.


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