Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

place - definition and synonyms

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.

Thesaurus diagram

The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

noun [countable]     place pronunciation in British English
Word Forms
  1. 1
    an area, or a position

    I don’t like crowded places.

    Let’s find a quiet place where we can talk.

    Keep your credit cards in a safe place.

    Will had broken his jaw in three places.

    1. a.
      the position where someone or something is, or where it should be

      She put the book back in its place.

      Cara walked back to her place and sat down.

      into place (=into the correct position):

      She shut the door and slid the bolt into place.

      The mechanism locked into place.

  2. 2
    a particular town, country, building, shop etc

    They live in a small place called Clovelly.

    With a bit of work this place could look lovely.

    This is the only place that sells this type of bike.

    The trip includes a visit to York and other places of interest.

    1. a.
      an area, building, or space that is used for or suitable for a particular purpose

      a popular eating place

      place for:

      Cyprus is a great place for a holiday.

      place to do something:

      Is this a safe place to swim?

      I always think Italy would be a great place to live.

    2. b.
      a house, flat etc for living in

      They’ve bought a lovely little place in the countryside.

      your/my/her etc place:

      Let’s have the party at my place.

  3. 3
    an opportunity to be a member of a sports team or to take part in a game or competition
    win/secure/earn/clinch a place:

    Lewis has earned a place in the Olympic team.

    Arsenal clinched a place in the semi-finals with a 2–0 win at Liverpool.

    1. a.
      British an opportunity to join a school, college, course etc

      Nursery places for children are scarce in some parts of the country.

      I must remember to book a place on the French course.

      Course organizers are hoping that all the places will be filled.

      get/secure/win/gain a place:

      Steven has secured a place at Manchester University.

    2. b.
      an opportunity to be part of an organization or business
      place on:

      She was offered a place on the committee.

      They’re looking for someone to fill Jackson’s place on the management team.

  4. 4
    a seat on a train or bus, in a theatre etc, or a position in a queue

    There’s no place to sit.

    lose your place:

    I had to go to the toilet and lost my place in the queue.

    save/keep someone’s place:

    Would you mind saving my place for a minute?

  5. 5
    the position that you achieve in a race or competition

    After a good performance at Wimbledon, she jumped six places in the world rankings.

    first/second etc place:

    Sevilla finished in fifth place in the ChampionsLeague.

    Rafferty completed his round in 69, to take third place at the halfway stage.

  6. 6
    the right occasion, or the right time for something

    This isn’t the place to talk about the subject.

    neither the time nor the place:

    This is neither the time nor the place to discuss our relationship.

  7. 7
    the point that you have reached in a book, speech etc

    He marked his place with a piece of paper.

    lose your place:

    I lost my place (=forgot what I was saying) when he interrupted me.

  8. 8
    [usually singular] the importance that someone or something has in people’s lives or in their minds

    The house will always have a place in our hearts.

    a discussion about the place of soap operas in popular culture

    someone’s place in history:

    De Klerk secured his place in history by releasing Mandela and starting the process of change.

  9. From our crowdsourced Open Dictionary
    the place to start the first thing to be done in order to achieve a goal

    If you are set to live a long life, eating tofu and squid is the place to start.

    Submitted by Boris Marchenko from Russian Federation on 19/11/2015
  10. From our crowdsourced Open Dictionary
    put in place to set up, organize, or establish

    Public buildings have put in place checkpoints at their entrances in the wake of a number of horrifying terror attacks.

    Submitted by Boris Marchenko from Russian Federation on 07/08/2016
  • Facebook
  • Twitter


a lifestyle focussing on simple pleasures such as comfort and cosiness in the home, and spending time with friends and family

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary


a form of location that involves the underwater detonation of a bomb which causes sound waves that are picked up by ships

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play