Tuesday, April 19, 2016

A-to-Z Challenge: P

And now for a word that should be all too familiar to all the writers: plot.

Plot comes from the Old English plot as a noun meaning a plot of land. From that sense, it morphed into map or chart, like you would plot out land. But then there’s the other definitions, which is where things get weird.

Plot in the sense of plan or scheme does come from plot, but it was probably influenced by the word complot, a word so obscure there’s no actual etymology on it even though it’s probably where we get the book plot sense. It comes from the Old French complot, though no one knows where it came from before that. It might be from the word compeloter, but that’s pretty strange considering it means “to roll into a ball”.

Told you it was weird.

Tony Jebson’s page on the Origins of Old English


  1. It's funny, I am reassured by the weirdness :) Complot - sounds like it should really be onomatopoeia ::g::
    Tasha's Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)

  2. Interesting. Complot sounds like a time of plum or am I just associating it with compote :) Great post.

  3. It actually makes sense to me. When we plot, we're taking bits and pieces of string (story and characters and symbolism and stuff) and rolling them together in a ball. A ball of... plot. A ball of plot. Yeah, let's pretend that's a phrase.

  4. I love that it's so weird. That's great!

  5. What? You can't roll your plots into a ball?

  6. Complot sounds like a good alias. Definitely weird!

  7. Have you tried the Oxford English Dictionary online resource? Full of excellent derivations and odd words!
    Jemima Pett

  8. That is weird. Not a plot line...but a plot ball? Hmmm...better start rethinking my plotting strategies. :)

  9. Well, obviously it was aliens who gave us that word. ;)

    ~Ninja Minion Patricia Lynne aka Patricia Josephine~
    Story Dam
    Patricia Lynne, Indie Author

  10. Now, I could see how map or chart plot might come to mean book plot. But, of course, the course of etymology never did run smooth.

    I saw a couple videos and thought of you: https://www.facebook.com/mentalflossmagazine/videos/10154098074067365/




Please validate me.