Quick Summary

The English stem plic comes from a Latin root word meaning ‘fold.’ Some common English words that come from this word root include application, multiplication, and replicate. Perhaps the easiest way to remember plic is through the word duplicate, or to ‘fold’ twice, thus making two things.

Into the Fold

The English stem plic comes from a Latin root word meaning ‘fold,’ as in to “bend over on itself” or “bend in two.”

When you duplicate something, you ‘fold’ it twice, thus making two things. In the same way, if documents are in triplicate, they are ‘folded’ three times, or there are three copies of them. When you multiply two numbers, their product is a larger number, such as 9X7=63. If you think of each part of the product 63 as a ‘fold,’ multiplication makes many such ‘folds.’

If something is complicated, like a math problem, it is so thoroughly ‘folded’ that it is hard to unravel or un’fold’ it to make it clear. You might have quite a time trying to explicate a thorny problem, or ‘folding’ it out to reveal its solution. On the other hand, the origin of the word simplicity suggests being ‘folded’ only once, which is as clear as you can possibly get.

When you replicate something, you ‘fold’ it again to make another one of it. For instance, a replica of a Roman coin is an identical ‘fold’ of it because it looks just like it.

What are you doing if you are applying for a job? An applicant wishes to ‘fold’ herself into a particular institution, like a college or business. Thus she fills out an application in the hopes of ‘folding’ herself in where she wants to work!

An accomplice to a crime is someone who has ‘folded’ himself towards the primary criminal, helping him either commit the crime or preparing the way for its completion. A person of this kind then would be complicit in the crime, choosing to be ‘folded’ in with it.

Hopefully now you will no longer find complications but mere simplicity when you encounter an English word with the stem plic in it, since you have been ‘folded’ into the know!

  1. duplicate: ‘fold’ twice
  2. triplicate: ‘folded’ three times
  3. multiplication: act of ‘folding’ many times
  4. complicated: thoroughly ‘folded’
  5. explicate: ‘fold’ out
  6. simplicity: ‘folded’ but once
  7. replicate: ‘fold’ again
  8. replica: that which is ‘folded’ again
  9. application: act of ‘folding’ towards
  10. accomplice: one ‘folded’ with another
  11. complicit: ‘folded’ with another


  • complicity

    Complicity is the involvement in or knowledge of a situation that is illegal or bad.

  • explicate

    To explicate an idea or plan is to make it clear by explaining it.

  • supplicant

    A supplicant is someone who humbly and respectfully asks for something from another who is powerful enough to grant the request.

  • duplicity

    If you accuse someone of duplicity, you think that they are dishonest and are intending to trick you.

  • implicit

    When something is implicit, it is understood without having to say it.

  • complicated

    If something is complicated, such as a math problem, it is difficult to understand because there are so many parts to it.

  • duplicate

    To duplicate something is to copy it so that you have two of it; it is also to make something happen again.

  • accomplice

    a person who joins with another in carrying out some plan (especially an unethical or illegal plan)

  • applicant

    a person who requests or seeks something such as assistance or employment or admission

  • application

    the act of bringing something to bear

  • complicate

    make more complicated

  • complicit

    aiding in the committing of a crime or other wrongdoing

  • duplicitous

    marked by deliberate deceptiveness especially by pretending one set of feelings and acting under the influence of another

  • explicit

    precisely and clearly expressed or readily observable

  • implicate

    bring into intimate and incriminating connection

  • implication

    something that is inferred (deduced or entailed or implied)

  • inapplicable

    not capable of being applied

  • inexplicable

    incapable of being explained or accounted for

  • multiplication

    the act of producing offspring or multiplying by such production

  • multiplicity

    the property of being multiple

  • replica

    copy that is not the original

  • replicate

    bend or turn backward

  • simplicity

    the quality of being simple or uncompounded

  • supplicate

    ask humbly (for something)

  • triplicate

    reproduce threefold

Related Word Parts

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