Origin of plain clothes
Examples from the Web for plain clothes
Outside at the taxi stand, the men approached and finally identified themselves: They turned out to be plain-clothes police.
I fooled the plain-clothes chap who was following me round, gave him the slip, and then came to see ye.Frank Merriwell's Pursuit|Burt L. Standish
Immediately after them came the sergeant, Inspector Badger, one or two plain-clothes men, and finally the divisional surgeon.The Vanishing Man|R. Austin Freeman
At any rate, none of my plain-clothes men has seen hide nor hair of one of the lot since, either in town or out.Cleek of Scotland Yard|Thomas W. Hanshew
Then there were policemen everywhere, and every other man nearly was a plain-clothes man or a detective.Colonel Crockett's Co-operative Christmas|Rupert Hughes
Ruth and Helen had sharp eyes, and they saw two plain-clothes men standing by to watch the forthcoming passengers.Ruth Fielding Down in Dixie|Alice B. Emerson
British Dictionary definitions for plain clothes
- ordinary clothes, as distinguished from uniform, as worn by a police detective on duty
- (as modifier)a plain-clothes policeman
Word Origin and History for plain clothes
"ordinary dress" (as opposed to military uniform), 1822; of police detectives, it is attested from 1842. Also plainclothes.