What does Plain mean?

Definitions for Plain

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word Plain.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. plain, field, champaignnoun

    extensive tract of level open land

    "they emerged from the woods onto a vast open plain"; "he longed for the fields of his youth"

  2. knit, knit stitch, plain, plain stitchadjective

    a basic knitting stitch

  3. apparent, evident, manifest, patent, plain, unmistakableadjective

    clearly revealed to the mind or the senses or judgment

    "the effects of the drought are apparent to anyone who sees the parched fields"; "evident hostility"; "manifest disapproval"; "patent advantages"; "made his meaning plain"; "it is plain that he is no reactionary"; "in plain view"

  4. plainadjective

    not elaborate or elaborated; simple

    "plain food"; "stuck to the plain facts"; "a plain blue suit"; "a plain rectangular brick building"

  5. plain, unpatternedadjective

    lacking patterns especially in color

  6. plain, sheer, unmingled, unmixedadjective

    not mixed with extraneous elements

    "plain water"; "sheer wine"; "not an unmixed blessing"

  7. plain, unvarnishedadjective

    free from any effort to soften to disguise

    "the plain and unvarnished truth"; "the unvarnished candor of old people and children"

  8. plain, bare, spare, unembellished, unornamentedadjective

    lacking embellishment or ornamentation

    "a plain hair style"; "unembellished white walls"; "functional architecture featuring stark unornamented concrete"

  9. homely, plainverb

    lacking in physical beauty or proportion

    "a homely child"; "several of the buildings were downright homely"; "a plain girl with a freckled face"

  10. complain, kick, plain, sound off, quetch, kvetchadverb

    express complaints, discontent, displeasure, or unhappiness

    "My mother complains all day"; "She has a lot to kick about"

  11. obviously, evidently, manifestly, patently, apparently, plainly, plainadverb

    unmistakably (`plain' is often used informally for `plainly')

    "the answer is obviously wrong"; "she was in bed and evidently in great pain"; "he was manifestly too important to leave off the guest list"; "it is all patently nonsense"; "she has apparently been living here for some time"; "I thought he owned the property, but apparently not"; "You are plainly wrong"; "he is plain stubborn"

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. PLAINadjective

    Etymology: planus, Latin.

    It was his policy to leave no hold behind him; but to make all plain and waste. Edmund Spenser.

    The South and South-East sides are rocky and mountainous, but plain in the midst. George Sandys, Journey.

    Thy vineyard must employ thy sturdy steer
    To turn the glebe; besides thy daily pain
    To break the clods, and make the surface plain. Dryden.

    Hilly countries afford the most entertaining prospects, though a man would chuse to travel through a plain one. Add.

    A crown of ruddy gold inclos’d her brow,
    Plain without pomp, and rich without a show. Dryden.

    In choice of instruments, it is better to chuse men of a plainer sort, that are like to do that that is committed to them, and to report faithfully the success, than those that are cunning to contrive somewhat to grace themselves, and will help the matter in report. Francis Bacon, Essays.

    Of many plain, yet pious christians, this cannot be affirmed. Henry Hammond, Fundamentals.

    The experiments alledged with so much confidence, and told by an author that writ like a plain man, and one whose profession was to tell truth, helped me to resolve upon making the trial. William Temple.

    My heart was made to fit and pair within,
    Simple and plain, and fraught with artless tenderness. Nicholas Rowe.

    Our troops beat an army in plain fight and open field. Henry Felton.

    Must then at once, the character to save,
    The plain rough hero turn a crafty knave? Alexander Pope.

    Give me leave to be plain with you, that yourself give no just cause of scandal. Francis Bacon.

    He that beguil’d you in a plain accent, was a plain knave, which, for my part, I will not be. William Shakespeare, King Lear.

    Some have at first for wits, then poets past,
    Turn’d criticks next, and prov’d plain fools at last. Alexander Pope.

    They wondered there should appear any difficulty in any expressions, which to them seemed very clear and plain. Clar.

    Express thyself in plain, not doubtful words,
    That ground for quarrels or disputes affords. John Denham.

    I can make the difference more plain, by giving you my method of proceeding in my translations; I considered the genius and distinguishing character of my author. Dryden.

    ’Tis plain in the history, that Esau was never subject to Jacob. John Locke.

    That children have such a right, is plain from the laws of God; that men are convinced, that children have such a right, is evident from the law of the land. John Locke.

    It is plain, that these discourses are calculated for none, but the fashionable part of womankind. Joseph Addison, Spectator.

    To speak one thing mix’d dialects they join;
    Divide the simple, and the plain define. Matthew Prior.

    A plaining song plain-singing voice requires,
    For warbling notes from inward cheering flow. Philip Sidney.

  2. Plainadverb

    The string of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain. Mar. vii. 35.

    Goodman Fact is allowed by every body to be a plain-spoken person, and a man of very few words; tropes and figures are his aversion. Joseph Addison, Count Tariff.

  3. Plainnoun

    Level ground; open; flat; often, a field of battle.

    Etymology: plaine, Fr.

    In a plain in the land of Shinar they dwelt. Gen. xi. 2.

    The Scots took the English for foolish birds fallen into their net, forsook their hill, and marched into the plain directly towards them. John Hayward.

    They erected their castles and habitations in the plains and open countries, where they found most fruitful lands, and turned the Irish into the woods and mountains. Davies.

    Pour forth Britannia’s legions on the plain. Arbuthnot.

    While here the ocean gains,
    In other parts it leaves wide sandy plains. Alexander Pope.

    The impetuous courser pants in ev’ry vein,
    And pawing seems to beat the distant plain. Alexander Pope.

  4. To Plainverb

    To level; to make even.

    Etymology: from the noun.

    Upon one wing, the artillery was drawn, every piece having his guard of pioners to plain the ways. John Hayward.

  5. To Plainverb

    To lament; to wail.

    Etymology: plaindre, je plains, Fr.

    Long since my voice is hoarse, and throat is sore,
    With cries to skies, and curses to the ground;
    But more I plain, I feel my woes the more. Philip Sidney.

    A plaining song plain-singing voice requires
    For warbling notes from inward cheering flow. Philip Sidney.

    The fox, that first this cause of grief did find,
    ’Gan first thus plain his case with words unkind. Hubberd.

    The incessant weeping of my wife,
    And piteous plainings of the pretty babes,
    Forc’d me to seek delays. William Shakespeare.

    He to himself thus plain’d. John Milton.


  1. Plain

    In geography, a plain, commonly known as flatland, is a flat expanse of land with a layer of grass that generally does not change much in elevation, and is primarily treeless. Plains occur as lowlands along valleys or at the base of mountains, as coastal plains, and as plateaus or uplands. Plains are one of the major landforms on earth, being present on all continents and covering more than one-third of the world's land area. Plains in many areas are important for agriculture. There are various types of plains and biomes on them.


  1. plain

    Plain refers to an extensive, relatively flat area of land. It is described as having very minimal changes in elevation, usually treeless, and often covered with grass or shrubs. It can also refer to something basic, simple, or without any embellishments or decorations in a general context.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Plainverb

    to lament; to bewail; to complain

  2. Plainverb

    to lament; to mourn over; as, to plain a loss

  3. Plain

    without elevations or depressions; flat; level; smooth; even. See Plane

  4. Plain

    open; clear; unencumbered; equal; fair

  5. Plain

    not intricate or difficult; evident; manifest; obvious; clear; unmistakable

  6. Plain

    void of extraneous beauty or ornament; without conspicious embellishment; not rich; simple

  7. Plain

    not highly cultivated; unsophisticated; free from show or pretension; simple; natural; homely; common

  8. Plain

    free from affectation or disguise; candid; sincere; artless; honest; frank

  9. Plain

    not luxurious; not highly seasoned; simple; as, plain food

  10. Plain

    without beauty; not handsome; homely; as, a plain woman

  11. Plain

    not variegated, dyed, or figured; as, plain muslin

  12. Plain

    not much varied by modulations; as, a plain tune

  13. Plainadverb

    in a plain manner; plainly

  14. Plainadjective

    level land; usually, an open field or a broad stretch of land with an even surface, or a surface little varied by inequalities; as, the plain of Jordan; the American plains, or prairies

  15. Plainadjective

    a field of battle

  16. Plain

    to plane or level; to make plain or even on the surface

  17. Plain

    to make plain or manifest; to explain

  18. Etymology: [OE. playne, pleyne, fr. F. plaindre. See Plaint.]


  1. Plain

    In geography, a plain are fertile regions. They are vast and flat and are very conductive to habitation. For these reasons, the plains of the world have the highest density of population. Some of them have been cradles of famous civilizations. Large rivers and their tributaries that provide enough water for human and animal consumption usually drain plains. Plains occur as lowlands and at the bottoms of valleys but also on plateaus at high elevations. In a valley, a plain is enclosed on two sides but in other cases a plain may be delineated by a complete or partial ring of hills, by mountains or cliffs. Where a geological region contains more than one plain, they may be connected by a pass. Plains may have been formed from flowing lava, deposited by water, ice or wind, or formed by erosion by these agents from hills and mountains. Plains in many areas are important for agriculture because where the soils were deposited as sediments they may be deep and fertile, and the flatness facilitates mechanization of crop production; or because they support grasslands which provide good grazing for livestock.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Plain

    plān, v.t. and v.i. to complain: to lament.—ns. Plain′ant, one who complains: a plaintiff; Plain′ing (Shak.), complaint. [O. Fr. pleigner (Fr. plaindre)—L. plangĕre, to lament.]

  2. Plain

    plān, adj. without elevations, even, flat: level, smooth, without obstructions: free from difficulties, easy, simple: without ornament or beauty, homely: artless: sincere: evident, unmistakable: mere: not coloured, figured, or variegated: not highly seasoned, natural, not cooked or dressed: not trumps at cards.—n. an extent of level land: an open field.—adv. clearly: distinctly.—v.t. (obs.) to make plain.—n.pl. Plain′-clothes, clothes worn by an officer when off duty or not in uniform.—ns. Plain′-cook, one able to cook all ordinary dishes; Plain′-deal′er, one who deals or speaks his mind plainly.—adj. Plain′-deal′ing, speaking or acting plainly, candid.—n. candid speaking or acting, sincerity.—adj. Plain′-heart′ed, having a plain or honest heart: sincere.—n. Plain′-heart′edness.—adv. Plain′ly.—ns. Plain′ness; Plain′-song, the music of a recitative-like character and sung in unison, used in the Christian Church of the West from the earliest times, and still in use in all R.C. churches: a simple air without variations: a plain unvarnished statement; Plain′-speak′ing, straight-forwardness or bluntness of speech.—adj. Plain′-spok′en, speaking with plain, rough sincerity.—n.pl. Plain′stanes (Scot.), flagstones, pavement.—n. Plain′work, plain needlework, as distinguished from embroidery.—Plain as a pikestaff, perfectly plain or clear. [Fr.,—L. plānus, plain.]

Dictionary of Nautical Terms

  1. plain

    A term used in contradistinction to mountain, though far from implying a level surface, and it may be either elevated or low.

Military Dictionary and Gazetteer

  1. plain

    A field of battle.

Etymology and Origins

  1. Plain

    The name given to the Girondist party on the floor of the French House of Assembly during the Revolution, as opposed to the “Mountain” party.

Surnames Frequency by Census Records

  1. PLAIN

    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Plain is ranked #22246 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

    The Plain surname appeared 1,159 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 0 would have the surname Plain.

    69.3% or 804 total occurrences were White.
    23% or 267 total occurrences were Black.
    5% or 59 total occurrences were of Hispanic origin.
    1.6% or 19 total occurrences were of two or more races.

Matched Categories

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'Plain' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #3492

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'Plain' in Written Corpus Frequency: #2790

  3. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'Plain' in Nouns Frequency: #2147

  4. Adjectives Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'Plain' in Adjectives Frequency: #453

Anagrams for Plain »

  1. pinal

  2. lipan

How to pronounce Plain?

How to say Plain in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of Plain in Chaldean Numerology is: 9

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of Plain in Pythagorean Numerology is: 7

Examples of Plain in a Sentence

  1. Homer:

    At last is Hector stretch'd upon the plain,Who fear'd no vengeance for Patroclus slainThen, Prince You should have fear'd, what now you feelAchilles absent was Achilles stillYet a short space the great avenger stayed,Then low in dust thy strength and glory laid.

  2. Rachel Stahl:

    Choose plain seltzer (its most natural form) and avoid any products with additives like added sugar or artificial sweeteners, for many, it fills the sought-after ‘fizzy fix’ without adding calories and sugar. It also is hydrating.

  3. Brandon Lowe:

    I have to catch it plain and simple, i called it and I dropped it. Next time I just have to keep going for it and make a play on it.

  4. Cory Booker:

    I've said time and time again that this is unacceptable, that if you come after Joe Biden, you're going to have to deal with me in this case. There is no — as you said — these are baseless, unfounded, scurrilous lies, plain and simple, trying to undermine the character of one of the statesmen of our country, not our party, but our country. And so, yeah, you've got a problem with me.

  5. I Ching:

    No plain not followed by a slope. No going not followed by a return. He who remains persevering in danger is without blame. Do not complain about this truth Enjoy the good fortune you still possess.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for Plain

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"Plain." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 23 Apr. 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/Plain>.

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