Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A public square or similar open area in a town or city.
  • n. A widened roadway forming the approach to tollbooths on a highway.
  • n. A parking or service area next to a highway.
  • n. A shopping center.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. a town’s public square.
  • n. an open area used for gathering in a city, often having small trees and sitting benches.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A public square in a city or town.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A public square or open space surrounded by houses in a Spanish or Spanish-American town or city; a marketplace in such a town: as, the Plaza of San Francisco.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a public square with room for pedestrians
  • n. mercantile establishment consisting of a carefully landscaped complex of shops representing leading merchandisers; usually includes restaurants and a convenient parking area; a modern version of the traditional marketplace

Etymologies

Spanish, from Vulgar Latin *plattea, from Latin platea, broad street; see place.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Spanish plaza ("town-square or central place of gathering"), from Latin platea, from Ancient Greek πλατεῖα (plateia), shortening of πλατεῖα ὁδός (plateia hodos, "broad way"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

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