Can I use plate for a sheet of paper? I'm not going crazy, in fact I read a sentence as follows:

..."And, like a fool, I presented you with that little piece of information on a plate"

The little piece of information was actually on a paper. So, can I replace paper with plate? This is the first time I've heard this actually, "plate-paper."

  • 1
    Note that "plate" can have many different meanings, and you do not present enough context to reliably differentiate. In this case it appears to have a metaphorical meaning as described by tchrist.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Jan 13, 2018 at 22:21

1 Answer 1


No, this is a metaphor. At fine restaurants, any little thing you request will be presented to you on a fancy plate.

The OED has:

III 27. b. colloq. to hand (also give) (something) to (a person) on a plate and variants: to give (something) to (a person) in such a way that little or no effort is required on their part; to present (something) without it having been asked or sought for; to present (something) in a complete or fully accomplished form.

  • 7
    "Platter" is also an extremely common metaphor in this context, especially "silver platter"s. Probably a similar origin, or of a Victorian butler delivering the newspaper, mail, calling cards, etc., on said silver platter.
    – minnmass
    Commented Jan 14, 2018 at 2:13

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