Try Our Apps


90s Slang You Should Know


or plain song

[pleyn-sawng, -song] /ˈpleɪnˌsɔŋ, -ˌsɒŋ/
the unisonous vocal music used in the Christian church from the earliest times.
modal liturgical music; Gregorian chant.
a cantus firmus or theme chosen for contrapuntal development.
any simple and unadorned melody or air.
Also called plainchant (for defs 1, 2).
Origin of plainsong
1505-15; translation of Medieval Latin cantus plānus Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for plain-song
Historical Examples
  • Ravenscroft's Psalms and Walter's book had given the melody, or plain-song, to the tenor.

    Sabbath in Puritan New England Alice Morse Earle
  • When opposed to plain-song, it meant counter-point as distinguished from mere melody.

  • Music embraced the rules of the plain-song of the Church, some theory of sound, and the connexion of harmony and numbers.

  • To speak of it as in any vital-194- sense a reversion, because it makes use of certain principles of plain-song, is mere trifling.

    Aspects of Modern Opera Lawrence Gilman
  • The mean was intermediate between the plain-song or tenor (so called from its holding on the notes) and the treble.

  • The plain-song is perhaps more often found in a lower part, the Descant being higher.

    Shakespeare and Music Edward W. Naylor
  • It may be beautiful in secular music, but it is null and void when it attempts the venerable sequences of plain-song.

    The Cathedral Joris-Karl Huysmans
  • But the tremendous passion of that Eastern plain-song would have offended these discreet walls.

    Appearances Goldsworthy Lowes Dickinson
  • Under Fulbert, indeed, the school of Chartres became famous for its music and for its plain-song renderings of the sacred offices.

    The Story of Chartres Cecil Headlam
  • “Sussex,” by Joseph Barnby, a plain-song with a fine harmony, is good congregational music for the hymn.

    The Story of the Hymns and Tunes Theron Brown and Hezekiah Butterworth
British Dictionary definitions for plain-song


the style of unison unaccompanied vocal music used in the medieval Church, esp in Gregorian chant Also called plainchant
Word Origin
C16: translation of Medieval Latin cantus plānus
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for plain-song

also plainsong, plain-song, 1510s, translating Latin cantus planus, French plain chant.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for plainsong

Many English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for plain

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for plain-song