plain clothes

or plain·clothes

Origin of plain clothes

First recorded in 1815–25
Related formsplain-clothes, plain·clothes, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for plain clothes

Contemporary Examples of plain clothes

  • Outside at the taxi stand, the men approached and finally identified themselves: They turned out to be plain-clothes police.

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Historical Examples of plain clothes


British Dictionary definitions for plain clothes

plain clothes

pl n
    1. ordinary clothes, as distinguished from uniform, as worn by a police detective on duty
    2. (as modifier)a plain-clothes policeman
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 clothes
n.

"ordinary dress" (as opposed to military uniform), 1822; of police detectives, it is attested from 1842. Also plainclothes.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper