plainclothes

adjective
plain·​clothes | \ˈplān-ˈklō(t͟h)z \

Definition of plainclothes 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: dressed in civilian clothes while on duty used especially of a police officer

plain clothes

noun

Definition of plain clothes (Entry 2 of 2)

: civilian clothes : the dress of an ordinary citizen … he had brought in a stenographer, more cops, and an older man in plain clothes.— E. L. Doctorow used especially in describing the clothes of a police officer a detective in plain clothes

Examples of plainclothes in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

More than 100 officers from counterterrorism and paramilitary units are protecting the South Jakarta District Court on Friday along with numerous plainclothes police. Fox News, "Indonesia boosts security for militant trial after attacks," 17 May 2018 Burley’s lawsuit traces misconduct allegations against city police plainclothes units to the 2006 flex squad controversy, which was followed by the disbanding of Special Enforcement Team units. Justin Fenton, baltimoresun.com, "Two men wrongfully imprisoned after fatal crash sue Baltimore Police; will seek $40 million in damages," 13 June 2018 Settlement: $3 million Amadou Diallo, New York, 1999 Mr. Diallo, a 22-year-old immigrant from Guinea, was killed by four plainclothes officers who fired a total of 41 bullets, 19 of which struck Mr. Diallo. Timothy Williams, New York Times, "$16 Million vs. $4: In Fatal Police Shootings, Payouts Vary Widely," 28 June 2018 Uniformed and plainclothes officers cited women for violating the Islamic dress code requiring them to cover their hair, according to the Kargari news channel, an opposition media outlet based outside the country. Author: Laura King, Kate Linthicum, Sabra Ayres, Anchorage Daily News, "Women’s Day marches worldwide bolstered by groundswell of #MeToo," 9 Mar. 2018 Four days later and barely 4 miles away in Bronzeville, police say Granton started running from plainclothes officers working a drug investigation. Paige Fry, chicagotribune.com, "Family bids farewell to man killed by Chicago police, waits for body-camera footage," 18 June 2018 Rights activists say Egyptian authorities have a long history of recruiting plainclothes thugs to attack protesters and opposition figures. Hamza Hendawi, BostonGlobe.com, "Egypt’s opposition says assailants trashed their party," 6 June 2018 Rights activists say Egyptian authorities have a long history of recruiting plainclothes thugs to attack protesters and opposition figures, a practice that allows officials to later deny involvement. Washington Post, "Egypt’s opposition says assailants trashed their party," 6 June 2018 Barber, who was 16 at the time, bought a shirt and was walking out with two other teens, one of whom had joined them at the store, when a large plainclothes security officer accosted them. Ann Doss Helms, charlotteobserver, "He was suspended, then things got worse. But this CMS teen never gave up.," 7 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'plainclothes.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of plainclothes

Adjective

1856, in the meaning defined above

Noun

1822, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

31 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for plainclothes

The first known use of plainclothes was in 1822

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More Definitions for plainclothes

plainclothes

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of plainclothes

: dressed in ordinary clothes and not a uniform while on duty

plainclothes

adjective
plain·​clothes | \ˈplān-ˈklōz, -ˈklōt͟hz \

Legal Definition of plainclothes 

: dressed in civilian clothes while on duty used especially of a police officer

More from Merriam-Webster on plainclothes

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with plainclothes

Spanish Central: Translation of plainclothes

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