AskDefine | Define plaza

Dictionary Definition



1 a public square with room for pedestrians; "they met at Elm Plaza"; "Grosvenor Place" [syn: place, piazza]
2 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; "a good plaza should have a movie house"; "they spent their weekends at the local malls" [syn: mall, center, shopping mall, shopping center, shopping centre]

User Contributed Dictionary



From Spanish meaning a “town square” or central place of gathering.



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




  1. plaza, town square
  2. fortified town

See also

Extensive Definition

Plaza () is a Spanish word related to "field" which describes an open urban public space, such as a city square. All through Spanish America, the plaza mayor of each center of administration held three closely related institutions: the cathedral, the cabildo or administrative center, which might be incorporated in a wing of a governor's palace, and the audiencia or law court. The plaza might be large enough to serve as a military parade ground. At times of crisis or fiesta, it was the space where a large crowd might gather. Like the Italian piazza, the plaza remains a center of community life that is only equalled by the market-place.
Most colonial cities in Spanish America were planned around a square plaza de armas, where troops could be mustered, as the name implies, surrounded by the governor's palace and the main church.
A plaza de toros is a bullring.
The Italian cognate is Piazza, the Portuguese Praça, the French Place, the Romanian Piața and the German Platz.

Shopping center

The first purpose-built shopping center in the United States, opened in Kansas City, Missouri in 1922, knowingly took the name of "Country Club Plaza" and adopted Spanish architectural details. More recently plaza has been used to describe a shopping complex, similar to a shopping mall, borrowing its connotations of a center of cultural life. The name is currently even applied to a single building with some semi-public street-level areas, often with a hotel or office tower above, while mall more often refers to multiple buildings or a street.
Fictional example: Nakatomi Plaza (in real life, Fox Plaza).

See also

plaza in Spanish: Plaza
plaza in French: Place (voie)
plaza in Indonesian: Plaza
plaza in Japanese: プラザ
plaza in Portuguese: Praça
plaza in Simple English: Plaza

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

agora, auto show, bazaar, boat show, campo, commercial complex, emporium, exposition, fair, flea fair, flea market, forum, green, market, market cross, market overt, marketplace, mart, open market, piazza, place, rialto, shopping center, shopping mall, shopping plaza, show, square, staple, street market, trade fair
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