• synonyms

plain clothes

or plain·clothes

plural noun
  1. clothing other than one's uniform, especially civilian clothes worn on duty by a police officer.
Show More

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

Historical Examples

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
Show More
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


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

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper