plain clothes

or plainclothes

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

Origin of plain clothes

First recorded in 1815–25

Other words from plain clothes

  • plain-clothes, plainclothes, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use plain clothes in a sentence

  • And I met some other officers coming down, plainclothes, and I believe they were deputy sheriffs.

    Warren Commission (3 of 26): Hearings Vol. III (of 15) | The President's Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy
  • "I feel like a convict arrested by plainclothes men," complained Harry, glancing before and behind.

    The Whole Family | William Dean Howells, Mary E. Wilkins Freeman, Mary Heaton
  • The big wagon was just starting away from the station door when he arrived, crowded inside with bluecoats and plainclothes-men.

    The Einstein See-Saw | Miles John Breuer
  • There were two plainclothes men—the Technical Squad, Bending knew—and four uniformed officers.

    Damned If You Don't | Gordon Randall Garrett
  • Afterwards, the plainclothes man and the two guards stood over him.

    Freedom | Dallas McCord Reynolds

British Dictionary definitions for plain clothes

plain clothes

pl n
    • ordinary clothes, as distinguished from uniform, as worn by a police detective on duty

    • (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