The opening song of the Sweeney Todd musical contains the following passage about his wife:
There was another man who saw
that she was beautiful...
A pious vulture of the law
who, with a gesture of his claw
removed the barber from his plate!
Then there was nothing but to wait!
And she would fall!
So lost and oh so beautiful!
Can anyone explain the definition of the word "plate" in this context? I can't find any definition that makes sense in its usage above. Perhaps it is an old English word?