Adjective "plain" definition and examples



Definitions and examples


Not decorated or elaborate; simple or basic in character.
  1. 'everyone dined at a plain wooden table'
  2. 'She was surrounded by a simple, plain room with a wooden wardrobe and desk.'
  3. 'Although there was a variety of slightly different recipes, the one in my mind was a pretty basic recipe for plain chiffon cake, I thought.'
  4. 'Today, she is wearing a plain black ankle-length dress decorated with flowers, perversely projecting a rather saintly look.'
  5. 'Interestingly the plain case holds the elaborately decorated cutlery while the filigree case houses the more restrained pieces.'
  6. 'Yet, perhaps because he deals mainly with sophisticated food, he prefers plain cooking at home.'
  7. 'Their rich, sumptuous food contrasted with the simple and plain food prepared by the ordinary people of Nepal.'
  8. 'All furniture forms were plain in design with simple or no surface decoration.'
  9. 'The tables are plain pine, giving the whole restaurant a homely, farmhouse-kitchen feel.'
  10. 'There are nice wooden floors and plain walls with tasteful pictures.'
  11. 'Because of her plain wool dress and basic hairstyle, I had assumed she would not know royal etiquette so in depth.'
  12. 'The pottery is usually plain and dark in colour, sometimes with channelled decoration and moulded handles.'
  13. 'Think creatively; add a flower pattern to a plain camisole or sew beads onto an old skirt.'
  14. 'If you want to distract attention from your top half, go for a plain colour and style on top and a sexier bottom with side ties or lots of flamboyant detail.'
  15. 'Instead of the bold patterns and colours that are typical of that continent, I've used plain designs and neutral colours.'
  16. 'I cut an overly sweet cake and got a gift I do not remember except that it was covered with plain silver wrapping paper.'
  17. 'Ascot rules dictate that they should be of a plain colour, and innocent of sponsors' logos.'
  18. 'Do you change it frequently or are you a purist with just the plain default colour?'
  19. 'Sport it with a gray suit and plain white or patterned shirt.'
  20. 'Sarees that are mass-produced in plain and sober colours, have as much charm as the hand-woven ones that are heavily embroidered with intricate designs.'
  21. 'The 1997 collage is made up of papers that are plain or dotted, striped and sponge-painted.'
  22. 'Bingo games also can be made just as easily by using plain white paper tri-folded lengthwise and widthwise to create a 9-cell grid.'
  23. 'He took it a couple of steps further though, faxing all the local Cleveland media outlets on plain white paper with his signature demanding a trade.'
  24. 'So, instead of finding my grandpa to tell him, I sit down on my desk, and, on a plain piece of paper, I start to write a letter.'
  25. 'Using plain white and ivory paper, straws and pipe cleaners, she creates faux gemstones, crystals and pearls.'
  26. 'I find working on plain white paper with a ballpoint pen is the best way.'
  27. 'Individually, an ant would get lost on a plain piece of paper.'
  28. 'The next morning, we spent no more than an hour making the poster, writing George's slogan on a large plain brown paper wrapper with big black markers.'
  29. 'Cover the work surface with plain newsprint or a drop cloth.'
  30. 'As for the writing paper (which should never be called note paper), this must be plain, not lined, and white or ivory.'
  31. 'Inside was at least five stacks of plain white paper, along with seven pencil boxes.'
  32. 'donations can be put in a plain envelope'
  33. 'Taped to his door panel was a plain white envelope with his name neatly printed across the front in red ink.'
  34. 'David pulled a plain envelope from a coat pocket, giving it to the vicar and shaking his hand as the man gave his condolences.'
  35. 'Her gaze settled upon the last letter, a small, plain envelope addressed to her maiden name from someone she couldn't remember at first.'
  36. 'In the post, she received a blade for a hack-saw in a plain brown envelope.'
  37. 'She folded the note and put it in a plain white envelope.'
  38. 'The envelope was a plain white one with no indication who it was from.'
  39. 'She didn't recognize the return address but turned it over, inspecting it carefully before tearing the paper off the plain box.'
  40. 'For those of you still staring suspiciously at the plain brown envelope from Canada Customs and Revenue, too fearful to open it up and find out how much they want from you - relax.'
  41. 'For me, the first shot at the ‘big story’ came in a plain brown envelope with no return address.'
  42. 'The plain envelope which landed on my desk was sent anonymously.'
Having no pretensions; not remarkable or special.
  1. 'Meanwhile, plain folks toss around the word with abandon.'
  2. 'Most importantly, the conviviums will include just plain folk.'
  3. 'And so the politicians, the soldiers, the businessmen, and the plain folk decided it was best to give up their guns.'
  4. 'She was just plain Suzy, driving her sleeping family home after a day out at the coast.'
  5. 'For the most part, she just called him plain Jack.'
Easy to perceive or understand; clear.
  1. 'it was plain that something was wrong'
  2. 'To an outsider, it's one of the hardest things to understand about the company, but the benefits are plain to see on stage.'
  3. 'It is increasingly plain that we do want a more engaged, modern head of state - but we are asking the single most ill-equipped family in the country to provide one.'
  4. 'Even without the GATS treaty, it's plain that global trade in services is already testing our notions of national sovereignty.'
  5. 'Really, your Honours, if that is what the court meant to be saying, it is directly contrary to what they have said elsewhere and what was plain on the papers.'
  6. 'It is plain that many regard the new obligation contained in the Code of Ethics to provide reasons for decision as detracting from what they regard as an efficient system.'
  7. 'The lack of highway capacity is plain to see as daily congestion is a fact of life on most key roads that link one province to another throughout Java, the country's economic center.'
  8. 'Considering that only one third of domestic violence incidents are reported, it is plain that as well as domestic violence being a national concern, it is here, in our York communities.'
  9. 'Since he clearly understands the law, it's plain that if we take him at his word, he appears to believe in free speech only for himself.'
  10. 'But once over the zebra crossing and up close, it was plain that these two artists couldn't be more different.'
  11. 'After all, it's plain that nothing really dreadful or heartbreaking could possibly happen to people this pleasant or cultured.'
  12. 'And when we do talk about it, we should do so clearly, in plain English - not in jumbled phrases of design jargon.'
  13. 'To put it in plain language, let's suppose that here in front of us there is an animal and a man.'
  14. 'This information is written in plain English and is not suitable for computer analysis.'
  15. 'His content is in Farsi, Farsi written phonetically with English characters and plain English.'
  16. 'Unless it is printed clearly in plain English, it could be misinterpreted.'
  17. 'The award was presented by the Plain English Campaign - an independent pressure group that campaigns for information to be written in plain English.'
  18. 'I think the candidates need to be very specific and speak in plain English.'
  19. 'Even so, we cannot see how this helps plaintiffs' contention that the plain meaning of ‘retail pet store’ does not include residences.'
  20. 'When it comes to the front page, newspapers favor plain language, in part to protect the readers from the seductions of rhetoric, of art.'
  21. 'Manufacturers are not legally-obliged to provide you with a guarantee, but if they do it must be in plain English and clearly explain how to make a claim.'
  22. 'there were indrawn breaths at such plain speaking'
  23. 'She was down to earth, plain speaking, kind and considerate.'
  24. 'The awards, designed to draw attention to the need for plain speaking, are now in their 23rd year and were celebrated at a ceremony in central London yesterday.'
  25. 'Is this issue beneath this great Prime Minister, who is blunt, and plain speaking, and goes on the front foot?'
  26. 'The wooden spoon may beckon for St Johnstone, but were there an award for plain speaking, the club chairman would be an undoubted front-runner.'
  27. 'Nothing is more artificial than plain speaking.'
  28. 'Athletics coaches and administrators, not to mention a few journalists, have been on the receiving end of her plain speaking over the years.'
  29. 'The Daily Mail claimed that his honesty and plain speaking is the best defence Britain could have against extremism and social unrest.'
  30. 'Honesty and plain speaking are not virtues for politicians and diplomats.'
  31. 'If humour does not do the trick, we must hope for enlightenment from plain speaking - from education of the public in the ways of their government.'
  32. 'He was once a naive believer in the freedom of expression and the virtues of plain speaking - formerly a tradition in the north of England.'
(of a person) not beautiful or attractive.
  1. 'She's a plain girl, and dresses in what is best suited, not best looking.'
  2. 'Never before had she worried about what she looked like or being ignored, in fact she had wished that she was plain in features and thus left alone to do whatever she desired.'
  3. 'I'm plain, I know I am, but I also know that if I tried I could be beautiful.'
  4. 'During the story, he becomes ashamed of his plain wife.'
  5. 'She was plain to behold, but he knew the signs: she would blossom into a beautiful young woman.'
  6. 'My brother and sister are so plain compared to yours!'
  7. 'She was an average looking girl, but she was plain like white paint.'
  8. 'I always used to look at myself as sort of a plain person.'
  9. 'He was a plain man of medium height and build.'
  10. 'It was nice to see such an attractive Ruth as often she is rather plain compared to Elvira.'
Sheer; simple (used for emphasis)
  1. 'Some are flipped, inverted, and just plain dyslexic.'
  2. 'As for her, she's just plain exasperated, what with that nose hanging off her face and a score pounding nonstop at her temples.'
  3. 'The suggestion that cabinet would sit there listening to tapes for hours on end is just plain silly.'
  4. 'Minimizing the number of systems that engineers deal with is also key, so that making GM products is cheaper and just plain simpler.'
  5. 'Many died from malnutrition, fighting, or just plain exhaustion before even getting to the construction sites.'
  6. 'Americans are just plain worn out from all that success.'
  7. 'The two have no chemistry, and his personality is plain awful.'
  8. 'If you feel overwhelmed, exhausted or just plain rundown, you probably are dealing with unhealthy amounts of stress.'
  9. 'It's a silly train wreck of a show, and at some point, you realize these kids are just plain bored.'
  10. 'He'd thrown so many blows - to little apparent effect - that he was just plain tired.'
Denoting or relating to a knitting stitch made by putting the needle through the front of the stitch from left to right.
  1. 'When working the 101st row, knit the margin, also 9 stripes of the pattern, then knit 30 plain stitches, and resume the pattern to the end.'


Used for emphasis.
  1. 'Was there a similar shakedown then of the just plain stupid ideas as we are experiencing now?'
  2. 'Think again; you do not have to have been personally liable, stupid or plain dangerous.'
  3. 'There is town pride; and then there is just plain egocentric stupidity.'
  4. 'Some of the designs seem, at first glance, a little too complex and just too plain clever for their or New York's good.'
  5. 'Now, we get to some other typos and a lot of just plain stupid false comments that were made in this book.'
  6. 'I must say this up front: I have zero love of the so-called thug style, on ballplayers or anybody else - it's just plain ugly to me.'
  7. 'Your statement on Nicaragua shows how utterly naive and just plain stupid you are.'
  8. 'He plays a single parent thief whose diplomatic skills take the form of naked and, at times, plain stupid aggression.'
  9. 'That kind of business-as-usual strategy would have been considered hubris or just plain stupid a decade ago, but the sands have shifted.'
  10. 'She was either completely clueless or just plain spiteful.'
Clearly or unequivocally.
  1. 'We warned him plain.'
  2. 'He was speaking plain enough to be very intelligible to Emma.'


A large area of flat land with few trees.
  1. 'A wide area of coastal plains extends across the western seaboard, a region of phosphate mining and the cultivation of citrus, olives, tobacco, and grains.'
  2. 'The landscape includes flat desert plains, rugged savanna, and volcanic mountains.'
  3. 'But it could mean the difference between living half-way up a mountain or living in a valley; living by the sea or living on a plain in a land-locked area.'
  4. 'In the Gobi area, you will find mountains, plains, steppes, forests and barren areas.'
  5. 'The earthquake struck an area that is mostly barren plains with scattered fertile land, in the shadow of the snow-crested mountains of the Hindu Kush.'
  6. 'Over the last century, internal migration has overwhelmingly been from mountains to plains, inland to coastal areas, and rural to urban settlements.'
  7. 'They inhabit tundra, alpine meadows, coastal plains near salmon runs, and rivers and valleys.'
  8. 'I assume our fathers saw these swells of land as flat and grassy plains like prairies.'
  9. 'Two long, sandy plains dominate the coastal areas along the Indian Ocean to the east.'
  10. 'This area is surrounded by sandy plains and salt marshes.'


1. clear or distinct to the eye or ear: a plain trail to the river; to stand in plain view.

2. clear to the mind; evident, manifest, or obvious: to make one's meaning plain.

3. conveying the meaning clearly and simply; easily understood: plain talk.

4. downright; sheer; utter; self-evident: plain folly; plain stupidity.

5. free from ambiguity or evasion; candid; outspoken: the plain truth of the matter.

6. without special pretensions, superiorit

More examples(as adjective)

"suspicions can be plain upon faces."

"emotions can be plain on faces."

"countries can be plain for alls."

"churches can be plain on exteriors."

"bitternesses can be plain in interviews."

More examples++


(plain)Middle English: from Old French plain, from Latin planus, from a base meaning ‘flat’.


as plain as the nose on someone's face
in plain sight (or view)
plain and simple
plain as day