Meaning of plateau

pla•teau

Pronunciation: (pla-tō' or, esp. Brit., plat'ō), [key]
— n., pl. v., -teaus, -teaux -teaued, -teau•ing.
—n.
  1. a land area having a relatively level surface considerably raised above adjoining land on at least one side, and often cut by deep canyons.
  2. a period or state of little or no growth or decline: to reach a plateau in one's career.
  3. 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.
  4. a flat stand, as for a centerpiece, sometimes extending the full length of a table.
—v.i.
  1. to reach a state or level of little or no growth or decline, esp. to stop increasing or progressing; remain at a stable level of achievement; level off: After a period of uninterrupted growth, sales began to plateau.
—v.t.
  1. to cause to remain at a stable level, esp. to prevent from rising or progressing: Rising inflation plateaued sales income.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.
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