plain

1
[ pleyn ]
/ pleɪn /

adjective, plain·er, plain·est.

adverb

clearly and simply: He's just plain stupid.

noun

an area of land not significantly higher than adjacent areas and with relatively minor differences in elevation, commonly less than 500 feet (150 meters), within the area.
The Plains. Great Plains.

Nearby words

  1. plaguy,
  2. plaice,
  3. plaid,
  4. plaid cymru,
  5. plaided,
  6. plain as day,
  7. plain bearing,
  8. plain chocolate,
  9. plain clothes,
  10. plain dealing

Origin of plain

1
1250–1300; Middle English (adj., adv., and noun) < Old French (adj. and noun) < Latin plānus flat, level, plānum flat country

Related formsplain·ly, adverbplain·ness, noun

Can be confusedplain plan plane

Synonym study

10. See homely.

plain

2
[ pleyn ]
/ pleɪn /

verb (used without object) British Dialect.

to complain.

Origin of plain

2
1250–1300; Middle English plei(g)nen < Old French plaign-, stem of plaindre < Latin plangere to beat (the breast, etc.), lament; akin to Greek plḗssein to strike

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for plain


British Dictionary definitions for plain

plain

1
/ (pleɪn) /

adjective

noun

adverb

(intensifier)just plain tired
See also plains

Derived Formsplainly, adverbplainness, noun

Word Origin for plain

C13: from Old French: simple, from Latin plānus level, distinct, clear

verb

a dialect or poetic word for complain

Word Origin for plain

C14 pleignen, from Old French plaindre to lament, from Latin plangere to beat

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

Word Origin and History for plain
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Science definitions for plain

plain

[ plān ]

An extensive, relatively level area of land. Plains are present on all continents except Antarctica and are most often located in the interior regions. Because they can occur at almost any altitude or latitude, plains can be humid and forested, semiarid and grass-covered, or arid.
A broad, level expanse, such as an area of the sea floor or a lunar mare.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with plain

plain

In addition to the idioms beginning with plain

  • plain as day
  • plain sailing

also see:

  • in plain English
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.