I am working on a project where I have to define some spaces we define in French as parcelles, which are in my case part of lands used for a specific usage, such as plantations. After looking for a translation for the word, I ended up finding both plot and parcel. While parcel sounds really close to parcelle, I wouldn't want to use a word that might have a different meaning than the one I am looking for.

What exactly is the difference between a plot and a parcel, and which one (if there is one) would be the best to use between those two to define some spaces of equal size on a map?

1 Answer 1


"Plot" would be the correct word. A "plot" has a specific use, whereas a "parcel" is just an area of land. Refer to these definitions (from Oxford Dictionaries):


2 A quantity or amount of something, especially as dealt with in one commercial transaction:
"a parcel of shares"

2.1 A piece of land, especially one considered as part of an estate:
"she decided to divide her property into three parcels and invite sealed bids"


3 A small piece of ground marked out for a purpose such as building or gardening:
"a vegetable plot"

I personally would only ever expect to hear "parcel" if there was some sort of transaction (buying or selling land) or transfer (inheritance or donation of land) involved in what was being said.

If you were referring to an especially small piece of land used specifically for growing vegetables, you could also use "allotment." With that usage, ownership isn't implied – rather, you're likely to rent an allotment if you want to grow vegetables but don't have a suitable garden:


A plot of land rented by an individual for growing vegetables or flowers:
"I would advise all residents who have considered renting an allotment to 'come and have a grow'"

You might also use "zone" if the pieces of land are officially categorised (e.g. by a council or government) for a specific use:


1 An area or stretch of land having a particular characteristic, purpose, or use, or subject to particular restrictions:
"a 40-km demilitarized zone"
figurative "United are still in the relegation zone"


1 Divide into or assign to zones.

1.1 (often as noun zoning) Divide (a town or piece of land) into areas subject to particular planning restrictions:
"an experimental system of zoning"

1.2 Designate (a specific area) for use or development as a particular zone in planning:
"the land is zoned for housing"

  • Really clear answer. I guess I will go for plot then. Thank you!
    – Izuka
    Feb 1, 2017 at 12:21
  • 1
    Just an aside - "allotment" isn't common in AmE. We would typically call that a community garden plot.
    – ColleenV
    Feb 1, 2017 at 13:05
  • Curious why this attracted two downvotes. Anyone who left one, I'm happy to hear criticism.
    – LMS
    Feb 2, 2017 at 13:41
  • I actually would expect to hear parcel. Maybe it's an urban thing. Plot definitely feels more rural to me; owners in the city have claim to a parcel or tract of land. Feb 6, 2017 at 6:53

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .