plain
Pronunciation
  • enPR: plān, IPA: /pleɪn/, [pʰl̥eɪn]

Adjective

plain (comparative plainer, superlative plainest)

  1. (now rare, regional) Flat, level. [from 14th c.]
    • Bible, Book of Isaiah 40:4
      The crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain.
  2. Simple.
    1. Ordinary; lacking adornment or ornamentation; unembellished. [from 14th c.]
      He was dressed simply in plain black clothes.
      a plain tune
    2. Of just one colour; lacking a pattern.
      a plain pink polycotton skirt
    3. Simple in habits or qualities; unsophisticated, not exceptional, ordinary. [from 16th c.]
      They're just plain people like you or me.
      • plain yet pious Christians
      • the plain people
    4. (of food) Having only few ingredients, or no additional ingredients or seasonings; not elaborate, without toppings or extras. [from 17th c.]
      Would you like a poppy bagel or a plain bagel?
    5. (computing) Containing no extended or nonprinting characters (especially in plain text). [from 20th c.]
  3. Obvious.
    1. Evident to one's senses or reason; manifest, clear, unmistakable. [from 14th c.]
      • 1843, Thomas Carlyle, Past and Present (book), book 2, ch. XV, Practical — Devotional
        In fact, by excommunication or persuasion, by impetuosity of driving or adroitness in leading, this Abbot, it is now becoming plain everywhere, is a man that generally remains master at last.
    2. Downright; total, unmistakable (as intensifier). [from 14th c.]
      His answer was just plain nonsense.
  4. Open.
    1. Honest and without deception; candid, open; blunt. [from 14th c.]
      Let me be plain with you: I don't like her.
      • c. 1603–1606, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of King Lear”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act II, scene v]:
        an honest mind, and plain, he must speak truth
      • 1749, Henry Fielding, The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling. In Six Volumes, volume (please specify ), London: Printed by A[ndrew] Millar, […], OCLC 928184292 ↗:
        |||tr=|brackets=|subst=|lit=|nocat=1|footer=}}|}}
        The Quaker was no sooner assured by this fellow of the birth and low fortune of Jones, than all compassion for him vanished; and the honest plain man went home fired with no less indignation than a duke would have felt at receiving an affront from such a person.
    2. Clear; unencumbered; equal; fair.
      • Our troops beat an army in plain fight.
  5. Not unusually beautiful; unattractive. [from 17th c.]
    Throughout high school she worried that she had a rather plain face.
  6. (card games) Not a trump.
Synonyms Antonyms Related terms Translations Translations Translations Translations
  • French: simple texte
  • Portuguese: simples
  • Spanish: con caracteres normales, libre de caracteres especiales, sin caracteres especiales

Adverb

plain (not comparable)

  1. (colloquial) Simply.
    It was just plain stupid.
    I plain forgot.
  2. (archaic) Plainly; distinctly.
    Tell me plain: do you love me or no?

Noun

plain (plural plains)

  1. (rare, poetic) A lamentation.
    • 1815, Sir Walter Scott, The Lady of the Isles ↗, Canto IV, part IX
      The warrior-threat, the infant's plain,
      The mother's screams, were heard in vain;

Verb

plain (plains, present participle plaining; past and past participle plained)

  1. (reflexive, obsolete) To complain. [13th-19th c.]
    • c. 1390, William Landland, Piers Plowman, Prologue:
      Persones and parisch prestes · pleyned hem to þe bischop / Þat here parisshes were pore · sith þe pestilence tyme […].
  2. (ambitransitive, now, rare, poetic) To lament, bewail. [from 14th c.]
    to plain a loss
    • Thy mother could thee for thy cradle set / Her husband's rusty iron corselet; / Whose jargling sound might rock her babe to rest, / That never plain'd of his uneasy nest.
    • 1936, Alfred Edward Housman, More Poems, "XXV", lines 5-9
      Then came I crying, and to-day, / With heavier cause to plain, / Depart I into death away, / Not to be born again.

Noun

plain (plural plains)

  1. An expanse of land with relatively low relief, usually exclusive of forests, deserts, and wastelands.
    • 1667, John Milton, “Book 1”, in Paradise Lost. A Poem Written in Ten Books, London: Printed [by Samuel Simmons], and are to be sold by Peter Parker […] [a]nd by Robert Boulter […] [a]nd Matthias Walker, […], OCLC 228722708 ↗; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: The Text Exactly Reproduced from the First Edition of 1667: […], London: Basil Montagu Pickering […], 1873, OCLC 230729554 ↗:
      Him the Ammonite / Worshipped in Rabba and her watery plain.
    • 1961, J. A. Philip. Mimesis in the Sophistês of Plato. In: Proceedings and Transactions of the American Philological Association 92. p. 467.
      For Plato the life of the philosopher is a life of struggle towards the goal of knowledge, towards “searching the heavens and measuring the plains, in all places seeking the nature of everything as a whole”
    Synonyms: flatland, grassland
    Hypernyms: land, terrain
    hypo en
  2. (archaic) Synonym of field#English|field in reference to a battlefield.
    • c. 1593, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedy of Richard the Third: […]”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act V, scene iii]:
      Lead forth my soldiers to the plain.
  3. (obsolete) Alternative spelling of plane: a flat geometric field.
Translations
Verb

plain (plains, present participle plaining; past and past participle plained)

  1. (obsolete, transitive) To level; to raze; to make plain or even on the surface.
    • 1594, Christopher Marlowe, Edward II (play), London: William Jones,
      Frownst thou thereat aspiring Lancaster,
      The sworde shall plane the furrowes of thy browes,
    • 1612, George Wither, Prince Henrie’s Obsequies, Elegy 24, in Egerton Brydges (editor), Restituta, Volume I, London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme & Brown, 1814, p. 399,
      Though kept by Rome’s and Mahomet’s chiefe powers;
      They should not long detain him there in thrall:
      We would rake Europe rather, plain the East;
      Dispeople the whole Earth before the doome:
  2. (obsolete, transitive) To make plain or manifest; to explain.
    • c. 1608, William Shakespeare, Pericles, Act III, Prologue,
      What’s dumb in show, I’ll plain with speech.

Plain
Proper noun
  1. Surname



This text is extracted from the Wiktionary and it is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license | Terms and conditions | Privacy policy 0.030
Offline English dictionary