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  • Player, The (film by Altman [1992])

    Robert Altman: 1980s and ’90s: …big screen in 1992 with The Player, a corrosive portrait of the film industry that hinged on a particularly potent performance by Tim Robbins, as a rising studio executive who kills to advance his career, and that included an abundance of cameos by well-known actors. Altman was nominated for an…

  • Players (American club)

    Edwin Booth: …Booth founded a club, the Players, in New York City that was intended as a gathering place for actors and eminent men in other professions. He lived at the club in his last years. His farewell stage appearance was as Hamlet in 1891 at the Academy of Music in Brooklyn.…

  • Players’ League (sports organization)

    baseball: Labour issues: …in 1890 formed the short-lived Players League.

  • Playfair cipher

    Playfair cipher, type of substitution cipher used for data encryption. In cryptosystems for manually encrypting units of plaintext made up of more than a single letter, only digraphs (pairs of letters) were ever used. By treating digraphs in the plaintext as units rather than as single letters, the

  • Playfair of St. Andrews, Lyon Playfair, 1st Baron (British statesman)

    Playfair cipher: …the British Foreign Office by Lyon Playfair, the first Baron Playfair of St. Andrews. Below is an example of a Playfair cipher, solved by Lord Peter Wimsey in Dorothy L. Sayers’s Have His Carcase (1932). Here, the mnemonic aid used to carry out the encryption is a 5 × 5-square…

  • Playfair, John (Scottish geologist and mathematician)

    John Playfair, Scottish geologist and mathematician known for his explanation and expansion of ideas on uniformitarianism—the theory that the Earth’s features generally represent a response to former processes similar in kind to processes that are operative today. A professor of natural philosophy

  • Playfair, John (British professor)

    Encyclopædia Britannica: Supplement to the fourth, fifth, and sixth editions: …the death of the author, John Playfair, professor of natural philosophy at the University of Edinburgh. The third dissertation, by William Thomas Brande, professor of chemistry in the Royal Institution of Great Britain, was “Exhibiting a General View of the progress of Chemical philosophy from the early ages to the…

  • Playfair, William (British architect)

    Edinburgh: The New Town: …crowned by the 19th-century architect William Playfair’s City Observatory (1818) and a charming Gothic house by Craig, built for the astronomer royal. Behind this rise 12 columns of an intended replica of the Parthenon that was designed by Playfair in 1822 as a memorial to the Scots who died in…

  • Playford, John (English music publisher)

    John Playford, English music publisher and bookseller whose popular and frequently expanded collection of music and dance steps remains the principal source of knowledge of English country dance steps and melodies. His book, The English Dancing-Master (1650, but dated 1651; critical ed., M.

  • Playford, Thomas (Australian politician)

    South Australia: Shifting the economic base: Premier Thomas Playford was a vigorous salesman for the business prospects of South Australia, emphasizing its lower wage costs, cheaper housing and land prices, lower taxes, and better industrial relations. He promoted the state operation of basic utilities, including electricity (in 1946 his government took over…

  • playground (architecture)

    Playground, controlled setting for children’s play. This institutionalized environment consists of a planned, enclosed space with play equipment that encourages children’s motor development. For most of history children merely shared public spaces such as marketplaces with adults; there was no

  • playground ball (sport)

    Softball, a variant of baseball and a popular participant sport, particularly in the United States. It is generally agreed that softball developed from a game called indoor baseball, first played in Chicago in 1887. It became known in the United States by various names, such as kitten ball, mush

  • playhouse (theatre)

    theatrical production: The playhouse area: Performer and audience exist together in a common area, within which there is a clearly delineated performing space (ring, stage platform, pit) and an audience space, the two structurally related. Some of the more common patterns of relationship are (1) an amphitheatre, with…

  • Playhouse 90 (American television series)

    George Roy Hill: Early work: …year he began directing for Playhouse 90, a program that featured 90-minute live episodes. His notable productions for the show included The Helen Morgan Story (1957) and Child of Our Time (1959); he received Emmy Award nominations for the latter three episodes. In 1957 Hill returned to the theatre, directing…

  • playing card

    Playing cards, set of cards that are numbered or illustrated (or both) and are used for playing games, for education, for divination, and for conjuring. Traditionally, Western playing cards are made of rectangular layers of paper or thin cardboard pasted together to form a flat, semirigid material.

  • Playing Cards, Master of the (German artist)

    Master of the Playing Cards, anonymous German artist who is one of the most important of the early engravers in the Rhineland. He is known for a set of playing cards (60 remain) that are distinguished for the manner in which the technique of soft-ground engraving has been handled, as well as for an

  • playing dead (animal behaviour)

    opossum: The Virginia opossum: …feign death—hence the expression “playing possum.” The animal also possesses a protein in its blood called lethal toxin-neutralizing factor (LTNF), which has been shown to detoxify a wide variety of poisons, including the venom produced by snakes, bees, and scorpions. The flesh of the Virginia opossum was once enjoyed…

  • Playing for Keeps (film by Muccino [2012])

    Gerard Butler: …athlete in the romantic comedy Playing for Keeps. In the action thriller Olympus Has Fallen (2013), Butler played a former U.S. Secret Service agent who acts to foil a terrorist attack on the White House. He reprised the role in London Has Fallen (2016) and Angel Has Fallen (2019). Butler…

  • Playing for Pizza (novel by Grisham)

    John Grisham: with the Kranks), Bleachers (2003), Playing for Pizza (2007), and Calico Joe (2012). The crime thrillers Camino Island (2017) and Camino Winds (2020) centre on a female writer.

  • Playing for Time (television film by Mann [1980])

    Daniel Mann: …followed for the TV movie Playing for Time (1980; codirected with Joseph Sargent), a drama based on the life of Fania Fénelon, a musician at Auschwitz who survived the horrors of the camp by performing in a female orchestra. Vanessa Redgrave won an Emmy Award for her nuanced performance as…

  • Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination (work by Morrison)

    African American literature: African American roots: …Harlem during the 1920s, and Playing in the Dark, a trenchant examination of whiteness as a thematic obsession in American literature. In 1993 Morrison became the first African American to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Her later works include Paradise (1998), which traces the fate of an all-black…

  • playing possum (animal behaviour)

    opossum: The Virginia opossum: …feign death—hence the expression “playing possum.” The animal also possesses a protein in its blood called lethal toxin-neutralizing factor (LTNF), which has been shown to detoxify a wide variety of poisons, including the venom produced by snakes, bees, and scorpions. The flesh of the Virginia opossum was once enjoyed…

  • Playing Sinatra (play by Kops)

    Bernard Kops: …occurs as a dream, and Playing Sinatra (1991), which centres on a brother and sister obsessed with the legendary performer. Kops’s early life of poverty and his Jewish background informs much of his work, including Enter Solly Gold (1961), in which a con artist convinces a Jewish millionaire that he…

  • Plays, Pleasant and Unpleasant (work by Shaw)

    George Bernard Shaw: First plays: …were revised and published in Plays Pleasant and Unpleasant (1898). The first of the second group, Arms and the Man (performed 1894), has a Balkan setting and makes lighthearted, though sometimes mordant, fun of romantic falsifications of both love and warfare. The second, Candida (performed 1897), was important for English…

  • PlayStation (electronic game console)

    PlayStation, video game console released in 1994 by Sony Computer Entertainment. The PlayStation, one of a new generation of 32-bit consoles, signaled Sony’s rise to power in the video game world. Also known as the PS One, the PlayStation used compact discs (CDs), heralding the video game

  • PlayStation 2 (electronic game console)

    electronic fighting game: Home console games: …as the Sega Dreamcast (1998), PlayStation 2 (2000), and the Microsoft Corporation’s Xbox (2001). In particular, the Dreamcast included a modem for connecting players over the Internet, Microsoft launched Xbox Live (2001), an Internet-based subscription gaming service, and Sony responded in 2002 with a modem for the PlayStation 2.

  • PlayStation 3 (electronic game console)

    electronic fighting game: Home console games: …the Xbox 360 (2005) and PlayStation 3 (2006), featured still greater integration of proprietary gaming networks and consoles. Although many of the most popular fighting games, such as Tekken and Mortal Kombat, are available in versions for both platforms, players cannot compete across these networks.

  • PlayStation 4 (electronic game console)

    PlayStation: In 2013 Sony released the PlayStation 4 (PS4), a next-generation console designed to compete with the Xbox One. Critics and players embraced the new platform, which boasted outstanding graphics and a smooth online multiplayer experience. The PS4 also doubled as a Blu-ray player and a media streaming device, and Sony’s…

  • PlayStation Home

    PlayStation Home, network-based service allowing users of the Sony Corporation’s PlayStation 3 (PS3) electronic-game console to interact in a computer-generated virtual community. PlayStation Home uses a video game-like interface to present a socially interactive environment. Players connect via

  • PlayStation VR (virtual reality display)

    PlayStation: …with the release of the PlayStation VR (PS VR) in October 2016. The PS VR system included a PS4 as well as a VR headset and controllers. The PS VR was priced well below similar PC-based VR systems, leading many to assume that it would make significant inroads into the…

  • playtext (theatre)

    theatrical production: Preparation of content: …of the final presentation (a playtext).

  • playwright

    Dramatic literature, the texts of plays that can be read, as distinct from being seen and heard in performance. The term dramatic literature implies a contradiction in that literature originally meant something written and drama meant something performed. Most of the problems, and much of the

  • Playwrights’ Company (American theatrical company)

    Robert E. Sherwood: Behrman, the Playwrights’ Company, which became a major producing company.

  • Playwrights’ Theater (American theatrical group)

    Eugene O'Neill: Entry into theatre: …which that fall formed the Playwrights’ Theater in Greenwich Village. Their first bill, on November 3, 1916, included Bound East for Cardiff—O’Neill’s New York debut. Although he was only one of several writers whose plays were produced by the Playwrights’ Theater, his contribution within the next few years made the…

  • plaza (urban land area)

    Western architecture: 17th century: The regularized residential city square received its greatest development in France with the planning of the royal squares. The Parisian Place des Vosges (1605), with its well-proportioned facades, shadowed arcades, and balanced colour scheme, was the beginning of a series that culminated with the circular Place des Victoires (1685)…

  • Plaza Accord (international finance [1985])

    international payment and exchange: Exchange-rate fluctuations: …United States) met at the Plaza Hotel in New York City in 1985. In the “Plaza Agreement,” they declared their intention to bring the dollar down to a more competitive level, if necessary by official sales of dollars on exchange markets.

  • Plaza Agreement (international finance [1985])

    international payment and exchange: Exchange-rate fluctuations: …United States) met at the Plaza Hotel in New York City in 1985. In the “Plaza Agreement,” they declared their intention to bring the dollar down to a more competitive level, if necessary by official sales of dollars on exchange markets.

  • Plaza Suite (film by Hiller [1971])

    Arthur Hiller: Films of the 1970s: Hiller and Simon reteamed for Plaza Suite (1971), a comedy consisting of three vignettes, all of which featured Walter Matthau, who earned accolades for his multiple performances; also receiving praise were Maureen Stapleton, Barbara Harris, and Lee Grant in supporting roles. The Hospital (1971) was more ambitious, a bleak satire…

  • Plaza, Victorino de la (president of Argentina)

    Argentina: The rise of radicalism: The interim presidency of Victorino de la Plaza (1914–16) was followed by that of the Radical leader Irigoyen (1916–22). He was the first Argentine president who owed his victory to the popular vote rather than to selection by the incumbent president from the members of a ruling oligarchy.

  • PLC (political party, Nicaragua)

    Nicaragua: Political process: Leading political parties include the Constitutionalist Liberal Party (Partido Liberal Constitucionalista; PLC), the Conservative Party of Nicaragua (Partido Conservador de Nicaragua; PCN), and the Sandinista National Liberation Front (Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional; FSLN). The FSLN was established in the early 1960s as a guerrilla group dedicated to the overthrow…

  • PLC (Palestinian government)

    Palestinian Authority: Administration: …to the confidence of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC). The PLC consists of 132 members elected to four-year terms. According to the 2005 amendment to the Basic Law, the 2006 election was a mixed majority system and proportional representation system. This resulted in the controversial outcome of Hamas winning 74…

  • PLD (political party, Dominican Republic)

    Leonel Fernández Reyna: The presidential candidate of the Dominican Liberation Party (PLD), he lost the first round of the elections to the mayor of Santo Domingo, José Francisco Peña Gómez, of the Dominican Revolutionary Party. After forming an alliance with the ruling Social Christian Reformist Party, however, Fernández won the second round, held…

  • PLDM (political party, Moldova)

    Moldova: Independent Moldova: …and Vlad Filat of the Liberal Democratic Party of Moldova (PLDM) was named prime minister. Despite their victory, however, the four parties fell short of the three-fifths majority required to choose a president.

  • plea bargaining (law)

    Plea bargaining, in law, the practice of negotiating an agreement between the prosecution and the defense whereby the defendant pleads guilty to a lesser offense or (in the case of multiple offenses) to one or more of the offenses charged in exchange for more lenient sentencing, recommendations, a

  • Plea for Excuses, A (essay by Austin)

    Western philosophy: Ordinary-language philosophy: In a celebrated paper, “A Plea for Excuses” (1956), he explained that the appeal to ordinary language in philosophy should be regarded as the first word but not the last word. That is, one should be sensitive to the nuances of everyday speech in approaching conceptual problems, but in…

  • Plea for Liberty (work by Bernanos)

    Georges Bernanos: …his Lettre aux Anglais (1942; Plea for Liberty, 1944) influenced his compatriots during World War II. A return to France in 1945 brought disillusionment with his country’s lack of spiritual renewal, and he lived thereafter in Tunis until he returned to France suffering from his final illness. Shortly before his…

  • pleached alley (garden path)

    Pleached alley, garden path, on each side of which living branches have been intertwined in such a way that a wall of self-supporting living foliage has grown up. To treat each side of a garden walk, or alley, with pleaching and thus make a secluded walk was a favourite device of the 16th and 17th

  • pleading (law)

    Pleading, in law, written presentation by a litigant in a lawsuit setting forth the facts upon which he claims legal relief or challenges the claims of his opponent. A pleading includes claims and counterclaims but not the evidence by which the litigant intends to prove his case. After both the

  • Pleading Guilty (novel by Turow)

    Scott Turow: … (1990; television film 1992) and Pleading Guilty (1993; television film 2010) continue in the vein of legal drama, although the former focuses more on the domestic troubles of its protagonist. The latter tells the story of a lawyer and former cop who is instructed to find a coworker who has…

  • Pleasant Colony (racehorse)

    Pleasant Colony, (foaled 1978), American racehorse (Thoroughbred) who in 1981 won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes but lost at the Belmont Stakes, ending his bid for the coveted Triple Crown of American horse racing. Pleasant Colony was foaled on the Virginia farm of his owner, Thomas M.

  • Pleasant Memoirs of the Marquis de Bradomin: Four Sonatas, The (work by Valle-Inclán)

    Ramón María del Valle-Inclán: …four novelettes known as the Sonatas (1902–05), feature a beautifully evocative prose and a tone of refined and elegant decadence. They narrate the seductions and other doings of a Galician womanizer who is partly an autobiographical figure. In his subsequent works Valle-Inclán developed a style that is rich in both…

  • Pleasant Valley Siding (North Dakota, United States)

    Dickinson, city, seat (1883) of Stark county, southwestern North Dakota, U.S. It lies on the Heart River, about 100 miles (160 km) west of Bismarck. Founded in 1880 as a stop on the Northern Pacific Railway and originally called Pleasant Valley Siding, it was renamed in 1882 for Wells S. Dickinson,

  • Pleasant, Loretta (American medical patient)

    Henrietta Lacks, American woman whose cervical cancer cells were the source of the HeLa cell line, research on which contributed to numerous important scientific advances. After her mother died in childbirth in 1924, her father moved with his 10 children to Clover, Virginia, where he divided them

  • Pleasantburg (South Carolina, United States)

    Greenville, city, seat (1797) of Greenville county, northwestern South Carolina, U.S., on the Reedy River, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. First called Pleasantburg when the area was settled in the 1760s, it was renamed Greenville in 1821, probably for Isaac Green, an early settler,

  • Pleasantville (film by Ross [1998])

    Reese Witherspoon: …tale “Little Red Riding Hood”; Pleasantville (1998), a comedy centring on teenaged siblings in the 1990s who become trapped in a 1950s TV sitcom; and Cruel Intentions (1999), a modern take on the 18th-century novel Dangerous Liaisons, set in high school. The latter film costarred Ryan Phillippe, to whom she…

  • Please Don’t Eat the Daisies (film by Walters [1960])

    Charles Walters: …adaptation of Jean Kerr’s play Please Don’t Eat the Daisies (1960). The domestic comedy was one of year’s highest-grossing films.

  • Please Don’t Eat the Daisies (work by Kerr)

    Jean Kerr: …domestic life under the title Please Don’t Eat the Daisies. The book was a best-seller and was adapted as a popular motion picture and later a television series under the same title. The Snake Has All the Lines (1960) was in the same vein as the earlier book. Mary, Mary…

  • Please Mr. Postman (recording by the Marvelettes)

    the Marvelettes: …result was the song “Please Mr. Postman.” Motown founder Berry Gordy, Jr., signed the singers, and a reworked “Please Mr. Postman,” featuring a young Marvin Gaye on drums, was released as their debut single. The song went to the top of the pop charts, and it provided Motown with…

  • Please Please Me (song by Lennon and McCartney)

    the Beatles: …first big British hit), “Please Please Me,” changing it from a slow dirge into an up-tempo romp.

  • Please, Louise (work by Morrison)

    Toni Morrison: …About Mean People (2002), and Please, Louise (2014). She also penned Remember (2004), which chronicles the hardships of black students during the integration of the American public school system; aimed at children, it uses archival photographs juxtaposed with captions speculating on the thoughts of their subjects. For that work, Morrison…

  • Please, Please, Please (recording by Brown)

    James Brown: …hated Brown’s first recording, “Please, Please, Please” (1956), but the record eventually sold three million copies and launched Brown’s extraordinary career. Along with placing nearly 100 singles and almost 50 albums on the best-seller charts, Brown broke new ground with two of the first successful “live and in concert”…

  • Pleasence, Donald (British actor)

    Donald Pleasence, British actor (born Oct. 5, 1919, Worksop, Nottinghamshire, England—died Feb. 2, 1995, St.-Paul-de-Vence, France), was one of Britain’s most enduring character actors on stage, screen, and television for more than 50 years; his greatest triumph was as the manipulative tramp, D

  • pleasing fungus beetle (insect)

    Pleasing fungus beetle, (family Erotylidae), any of more than 3,500 species of widely distributed, mostly tropical beetles (insect order Coleoptera) that feed on fungi such as mushrooms and are often brightly coloured with orange, red, and black patterns. Pleasing fungus beetles range in size from

  • pleasure

    aesthetics: Emotion, response, and enjoyment: …instance, a certain kind of pleasure. But what kind of pleasure? While our emotions and sympathies are sometimes pleasurable, this is by no means their essential feature; they may equally be painful or neutral. How then does the aesthetic of sympathy explain the pleasure that we take, and must take,…

  • pleasure garden

    garden and landscape design: Islamic: …Palermo, was taken up with pleasure grounds—walled enclosures large enough to contain woods and hills, canals, artificial lakes, groves of oranges and lemons, fountains, water stairways, and wild creatures running free.

  • pleasure principle (psychology)

    human behaviour: Psychoanalytic theories: … gradually begins to control the pleasure principle; the child learns that the environment does not always permit immediate gratification. Child development, according to Freud, is thus primarily concerned with the emergence of the functions of the ego, which is responsible for channeling the discharge of fundamental drives and for controlling…

  • Pleasure Seekers, The (film by Negulesco [1964])

    Jean Negulesco: Later films: The Pleasure Seekers (1964), Negulesco’s musical remake of Three Coins in the Fountain, was set in Spain and featured Ann-Margret, Pamela Tiffin, and Carol Lynley. Negulesco later moved to Spain and resumed his long-deferred career as a painter. He came out of his unofficial retirement…

  • Pleasure Steamers, The (poetry by Motion)

    Andrew Motion: Motion’s first verse collection, The Pleasure Steamers, was published in 1978. It contains “Inland,” which describes the fear and helplessness of 17th-century villagers who must abandon their homeland following a devastating flood; the poem received the Newdigate Prize in 1975. Noted for his insight and empathy, Motion frequently wrote…

  • Pleasure with Profit: Consisting of Recreations of Divers Kinds, viz., Numerical, Geometrical, Mechanical, Statical, Astronomical, Horometrical, Cryptographical, Magnetical, Automatical, Chymical, and Historical (work by Leybourn)

    number game: Pioneers and imitators: …surveyor, in 1694, published his Pleasure with Profit: Consisting of Recreations of Divers Kinds, viz., Numerical, Geometrical, Mechanical, Statical, Astronomical, Horometrical, Cryptographical, Magnetical, Automatical, Chymical, and Historical. The title page further states that the purpose of the book was to “recreate ingenious spirits and to induce them to make farther…

  • Pleasure, Study, Play, and the Voyage (decorations by Bonnard)

    Pierre Bonnard: But about 1906 he painted Pleasure, Study, Play, and the Voyage, a series of four decorations made to resemble tapestries, for the salon of Misia Natanson, the wife of one of the editors of La Revue blanche. These pictures show that he was an heir to the French grand tradition…

  • Pleasures and Days (work by Proust)

    Marcel Proust: Life and works: …Plaisirs et les jours (Pleasures and Days), a collection of short stories at once precious and profound, most of which had appeared during 1892–93 in the magazines Le Banquet and La Revue Blanche. From 1895 to 1899 he wrote Jean Santeuil, an autobiographical novel that, though unfinished and ill-constructed,…

  • Pleasures of Exile, The (essays by Lamming)

    George Lamming: The Pleasures of Exile (1960) is a collection of essays that examines Caribbean politics, race, and culture in an international context. Lamming’s later novels include Water with Berries (1971), a political allegory based on Shakespeare’s The Tempest, and Natives of My Person (1971), about 16th-century…

  • Pleasures of Hope, The (work by Campbell)

    Thomas Campbell: In 1799 he wrote The Pleasures of Hope, a traditional 18th-century survey in heroic couplets of human affairs. It went through four editions within a year.

  • Pleasures of Imagination, The (work by Akenside)

    Mark Akenside: …best known for his poem The Pleasures of Imagination, an eclectic philosophical essay that takes as its starting point papers on the same subject written by Joseph Addison for The Spectator. Written in blank verse derived from Milton’s, it was modelled (as its preface states) on the Roman poets Virgil…

  • Pleasures of the Imagination, The (work by Addison)

    aesthetics: The origins of modern aesthetics: …series of influential essays, “The Pleasures of the Imagination” in The Spectator (1712). He defended the theory that imaginative association is the fundamental component in our experience of art, architecture, and nature, and is the true explanation of their value to us.

  • pleather (material)
  • pleating (fabric design)

    dress: Ancient Greece: …in draping was created by pleating, a treatment particularly in use for feminine wear. The pieces of material were set into pleats, soaked in a thin starch solution, twisted and tied at the ends, then left in the sun to dry. This gave a greater permanence to the pleating.

  • plebeian (ancient Rome)

    Plebeian, member of the general citizenry in ancient Rome as opposed to the privileged patrician class. The distinction was probably originally based on the wealth and influence of certain families who organized themselves into patrician clans under the early republic, during the 5th and 4th

  • plebeian tribunate (Roman official)

    ancient Rome: The plebeian tribunate: According to the annalistic tradition, one of the most important events in the struggle of the orders was the creation of the plebeian tribunate. After being worn down by military service, bad economic conditions, and the rigours of early Rome’s debt law, the…

  • plebeian tribune (Roman official)

    ancient Rome: The plebeian tribunate: According to the annalistic tradition, one of the most important events in the struggle of the orders was the creation of the plebeian tribunate. After being worn down by military service, bad economic conditions, and the rigours of early Rome’s debt law, the…

  • plebes (ancient Rome)

    Plebeian, member of the general citizenry in ancient Rome as opposed to the privileged patrician class. The distinction was probably originally based on the wealth and influence of certain families who organized themselves into patrician clans under the early republic, during the 5th and 4th

  • plebian (ancient Rome)

    Plebeian, member of the general citizenry in ancient Rome as opposed to the privileged patrician class. The distinction was probably originally based on the wealth and influence of certain families who organized themselves into patrician clans under the early republic, during the 5th and 4th

  • plebiscita (law history)

    plebeian: …a law (Lex Hortensia) making plebiscita (measures passed in the plebeian assembly) binding not only on plebeians but also on the rest of the community. In the later republic and under the empire (after 27 bce), the name plebeian continued to be used in the sense of commoner.

  • plebiscite (politics)

    Plebiscite, a vote by the people of an entire country or district to decide on some issue, such as choice of a ruler or government, option for independence or annexation by another power, or a question of national policy. In a plebiscite, voters are asked not to choose between alternate regimes or

  • plebs (ancient Rome)

    Plebeian, member of the general citizenry in ancient Rome as opposed to the privileged patrician class. The distinction was probably originally based on the wealth and influence of certain families who organized themselves into patrician clans under the early republic, during the 5th and 4th

  • Plechý (mountain, Czech Republic)

    Bohemian Forest: …the Bavarian (western) side and Plechý (Plöckenstein; 4,521 feet [1,378 m]) on the Czech (eastern) side. The Šumava is the source for the Vltava (German: Moldau) River, which cuts a broad trough through part of the region and is a source of hydroelectric power. Forests, both coniferous and deciduous, cover…

  • Plecia nearctica (insect)

    March fly, (family Bibionidae), any member of a family of stout insects in the fly order, Diptera, that are commonly seen around flowers during spring and early summer. The dark, short adults frequently have red and yellow markings. The larvae feed on the roots of plants and on decaying vegetation

  • Plečnik, Josef (Slovene architect)

    Western architecture: Art Nouveau: Josef Plečnik, a talented pupil of Wagner, began his career in 1903–05 with the office and residence of Johannes Zacherl in Vienna. This was in a Wagner-inspired style that Plečnik developed in the 1930s in a fascinating series of buildings, especially in his native city…

  • Plecoglossus altivelis (fish)

    Sweetfish, delicately flavoured marine fish that migrates upstream to spawn in clear waters. It is found in East Asia and is of the family Osmeridae. The sweetfish is light yellow or olive-coloured, about 30 cm (1 foot) long, and similar to a small trout in appearance. It is distinguished by a

  • Plecoptera (insect)

    Stonefly, (order Plecoptera), any of about 2,000 species of insects, the adults of which have long antennae, weak, chewing mouthparts, and two pairs of membranous wings. The stonefly ranges in size from 6 to more than 60 mm (0.25 to 2.5 inches). The hindwings are generally larger and shorter than

  • plectics (physics)

    Murray Gell-Mann: …Complexity, he coined the word plectics to describe the type of research supported by the institute. In The Quark and the Jaguar (1994), Gell-Mann gave a fuller description of the ideas concerning the relationship between the basic laws of physics (the quark) and the emergent phenomena of life (the jaguar).

  • Plectoceras (fossil cephalopod genus)

    Plectoceras, extinct genus of small marine nautiloid cephalopods, forms related to the modern pearly nautilus, that had a coiled shell composed of a series of chambers; Plectoceras was active in the Ordovician Period (from about 488 million to 444 million years ago). The junctures between

  • Plectognathi (fish order)

    Tetraodontiform, (order Tetradontiformes), any member of a group of primarily tropical marine fishes that are closely related to the perciforms (the typical advanced spiny-rayed fishes) that evolved during the Eocene Period of the Cenozoic Era, about 50 million years ago. Included are the

  • Plectorhynchus (fish)

    grunt: …larger fishes; several species of sweetlips (Plectorhynchus), which are Indo-Pacific fishes, highly variable in colouring and sometimes kept in marine aquariums; and the tomtates (Bathystoma rimator and related species), grunts found off Florida and the West Indies.

  • Plectrachne (plant genus)

    grassland: Biota: …species of the spinifex grasses, Plectrachne and Triodia, which form characteristic hummocks by trapping windblown sand at the bases of their tussocks. Heteropogon and Sorghum dominate grasslands in moister, northern areas, and Astrebla (Mitchell grass) is prevalent in seasonally arid areas, especially on cracking clay soils in the east. Other

  • Plectranthus (plant genus)

    Lamiales: Lamiaceae: Hundreds of named cultivars of Plectranthus, notable for their colourful leaves, are prized as houseplants and for protected outdoor plantings. Wildflowers and cultivated varieties of Monarda (bergamot) are also appreciated for their colour in summer.

  • Plectranthus scutellarioides (plant)

    coleus: Varieties of common coleus, or painted nettle (Plectranthus scutellarioides, formerly Coleus blumei), from Java, are well-known house and garden plants up to one metre (three feet) tall. They have square stems and small, blue, two-lipped flowers borne in spikes. The leaves are often variegated with colourful patterns…

  • Plectranthus thyrsoideus (plant)

    coleus: Bush coleus, or blue Plectranthus (P. thyrsoideus, formerly C. thyrsoideus), from Central Africa, reaches a height of one metre and produces sprays of bright blue flowers. The leaves have distinctive venation and are often green with white borders.

  • Plectritis congesta (plant)

    Valerianoideae: …flower clusters from the Mediterranean; Plectritis congesta, a rose-pink-flowered annual from northwestern North America; and members of the Eurasian genus Patrinia, perennials with yellow or white flowers. Spikenard (Nardostachys grandiflora, sometimes N. jatamansi) is a perennial herb of the Himalayas that produces an essential oil in its woody rhizomes; it…

  • Plectrophenax (bird genus)

    bunting: …white buntings of the genus Plectrophenax are hardy songbirds of the Arctic. They include the snow bunting (P. nivalis), sometimes called “snowflake,” as their flocks seem to swirl through the air and then settle on winter fields. The whitest North American songbird, McKay’s bunting (P. hyperboreus), nests on the remote…

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