1

plain

verb \ ˈplān \

Definition of plain

intransitive verb
archaic

Origin and Etymology of plain

Middle English, from Anglo-French pleindre, plaindre, from Latin plangere to lament — more at plaint


2

plain

noun

Definition of plain

1 a : an extensive area of level or rolling treeless country
b : a broad unbroken expanse
2 : something free from artifice, ornament, or extraneous matter

Examples of plain in a Sentence

  1. the Great Plains of the United States

  2. the first settlers in that area lived on the vast plains in lonely log cabins

Origin and Etymology of plain

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin planum, from neuter of planus flat, plain — more at floor


3

plain

adjective

Definition of plain

1 archaic : even, level
2 : lacking ornament : undecorated
3 : free of extraneous matter : pure
4 : free of impediments to view : unobstructed
5 a (1) : evident to the mind or senses : obvious
  • it's perfectly plain that they will resist
(2) : clear
  • let me make my meaning plain
b : marked by outspoken candor : free from duplicity or subtlety : blunt
  • plain talk
6 a : belonging to the masses : common
b : lacking special distinction or affectation : ordinary
7 : characterized by simplicity : not complicated
  • plain home-cooked meals
8 : lacking beauty or ugliness

plainly

adverb

plainness

play \ˈplān-nəs\ noun

Examples of plain in a Sentence

  1. It was a plain room with no curtains.

  2. She was wearing plain black shoes.

  3. He printed the picture on plain paper.

  4. a piece of plain chicken

  5. You don't have to call me Mr. Johnson—just plain Fred will be fine.

  6. What he said is a lie, plain and simple.

First Known Use of plain

14th century

Synonym Discussion of plain

common, ordinary, plain, familiar, popular, vulgar mean generally met with and not in any way special, strange, or unusual. common implies usual everyday quality or frequency of occurrence
    • a common error
    • lacked common honesty
and may additionally suggest inferiority or coarseness.
    • common manners
ordinary stresses conformance in quality or kind with the regular order of things.
    • an ordinary pleasant summer day
    • a very ordinary sort of man
plain is likely to suggest homely simplicity.
    • plain hard-working people
familiar stresses the fact of being generally known and easily recognized.
    • a familiar melody
popular applies to what is accepted by or prevalent among people in general sometimes in contrast to upper classes or special groups.
    • a writer of popular romances
vulgar, otherwise similar to popular, is likely to carry derogatory connotations (as of inferiority or coarseness).
    • souvenirs designed to appeal to the vulgar taste
evident, manifest, patent, distinct, obvious, apparent, plain, clear mean readily perceived or apprehended. evident implies presence of visible signs that lead one to a definite conclusion.
    • an evident fondness for sweets
manifest implies an external display so evident that little or no inference is required.
    • manifest hostility
patent applies to a cause, effect, or significant feature that is clear and unmistakable once attention has been directed to it.
    • patent defects
distinct implies such sharpness of outline or definition that no unusual effort to see or hear or comprehend is required.
    • a distinct refusal
obvious implies such ease in discovering that it often suggests conspicuousness or little need for perspicacity in the observer.
    • the obvious solution
apparent is very close to evident except that it may imply more conscious exercise of inference.
    • for no apparent reason
plain suggests lack of intricacy, complexity, or elaboration.
    • her feelings about him are plain
clear implies an absence of anything that confuses the mind or obscures the pattern.
    • a clear explanation
frank, candid, open, plain mean showing willingness to tell what one feels or thinks. frank stresses lack of shyness or secretiveness or of evasiveness from considerations of tact or expedience.
    • frank discussions
candid suggests expression marked by sincerity and honesty especially in offering unwelcome criticism or opinion.
    • a candid appraisal
open implies frankness but suggests more indiscretion than frank and less earnestness than candid.
    • open in saying what they think
plain suggests outspokenness and freedom from affectation or subtlety in expression.
    • plain talk

4

plain

adverb

Definition of plain

: in a plain manner : without obscurity or ambiguity
  • saw them clearly and told you plain
  • Amer. Documentation

First Known Use of plain

14th century


5

plain

adverb

Definition of plain

: absolutely 1a
  • plain wrong

Origin and Etymology of plain

partly from Middle English plein entire, complete, from Anglo-French, full, from Latin plenus; partly from 4plain — more at full



PLAIN Defined for English Language Learners

plain

noun

Definition of plain for English Language Learners

  • : a large area of flat land without trees


plain

adjective

Definition of plain for English Language Learners

  • : having no pattern or decoration

  • : not having any added or extra things

  • : easy to see or understand


PLAIN Defined for Kids

1

plain

adjective \ ˈplān \

Definition of plain for Students

plainer; plainest
1 : having no pattern or decoration
  • a plain jacket
2 : not handsome or beautiful
3 : not hard to do or understand
  • The lesson was explained in plain words.
  • The directions were plain.
4 : without anything having been added
  • He eats plain yogurt.
5 : open and clear to the sight
  • I left my money in plain view.
6 : frank
  • The judge is famous for her plain speaking.
7 : of common or average accomplishments or position : ordinary
  • just plain folks

plainly

adverb

plainness

noun

2

plain

noun

Definition of plain for Students

: a large area of level or rolling treeless land

3

plain

adverb

Definition of plain for Students

: without any question : to a complete degree
  • … she's just plain jealous when I'm at the piano and she's not.
  • —Karen Hesse, Out of the Dust


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