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PLAIN

Pronunciation (US): 

 Dictionary entry overview: What does plain mean? 

PLAIN (noun)
  The noun PLAIN has 2 senses:

1. extensive tract of level open land
2. a basic knitting stitch

  Familiarity information: PLAIN used as a noun is rare.


PLAIN (adjective)
  The adjective PLAIN has 7 senses:

1. clearly revealed to the mind or the senses or judgment
2. not elaborate or elaborated; simple
3. lacking patterns especially in color
4. not mixed with extraneous elements
5. free from any effort to soften to disguise
6. lacking embellishment or ornamentation
7. lacking in physical beauty or proportion

  Familiarity information: PLAIN used as an adjective is common.


PLAIN (verb)
  The verb PLAIN has 1 sense:

1. express complaints, discontent, displeasure, or unhappiness

  Familiarity information: PLAIN used as a verb is very rare.


PLAIN (adverb)
  The adverb PLAIN has 1 sense:

1. unmistakably ('plain' is often used informally for 'plainly')

  Familiarity information: PLAIN used as an adverb is very rare.


 Dictionary entry details 


PLAIN (noun)


Sense 1plain [BACK TO TOP]

Meaning:

Extensive tract of level open land

Classified under:

Nouns denoting natural objects (not man-made)

Synonyms:

champaign; plain; field

Context examples:

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

Hypernyms ("plain" is a kind of...):

dry land; earth; ground; land; solid ground; terra firma (the solid part of the earth's surface)

Hyponyms (each of the following is a kind of "plain"):

snowfield (a permanent wide expanse of snow)

tundra (a vast treeless plain in the arctic regions between the ice cap and the tree line)

steppe (extensive plain without trees (associated with eastern Russia and Siberia))

flat (a level tract of land)

flood plain; floodplain (a low plain adjacent to a river that is formed chiefly of river sediment and is subject to flooding)

llano (an extensive grassy and nearly treeless plain (especially in Latin America))

moor; moorland (open land usually with peaty soil covered with heather and bracken and moss)

peneplain; peneplane (a more or less level land surface representing and advanced stage of erosion undisturbed by crustal movements)

Instance hyponyms:

Olympia (a plain in Greece in the northwestern Peloponnese; the chief sanctuary of Zeus and the site of the original Olympian Games)

Serengeti; Serengeti Plain (a vast plain in Tanzania west of the Great Rift Valley known for its wildlife)

Nullarbor Plain (a vast arid plain of southern Australia stretching inland from the Great Australian Bight; has sparse vegetation and no surface water and is almost uninhabited; the site of a major rocket research center)


Sense 2plain [BACK TO TOP]

Meaning:

A basic knitting stitch

Classified under:

Nouns denoting man-made objects

Synonyms:

knit stitch; plain stitch; knit; plain

Hypernyms ("plain" is a kind of...):

knitting stitch (a stitch taken in knitting)


PLAIN (adjective)


Sense 1plain [BACK TO TOP]

Meaning:

Clearly revealed to the mind or the senses or judgment

Synonyms:

apparent; evident; manifest; plain; unmistakable; patent

Context examples:

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

Similar:

obvious (easily perceived by the senses or grasped by the mind)


Sense 2plain [BACK TO TOP]

Meaning:

Not elaborate or elaborated; simple

Context examples:

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

Similar:

vanilla (plain and without any extras or adornments)

tailored; trim (severely simple in line or design)

simple (unornamented)

literal (avoiding embellishment or exaggeration (used for emphasis))

inelaborate; unelaborate (not elaborate; lacking rich or complex detail)

homely (plain and unpretentious)

featureless (lacking distinguishing characteristics or features)

dry (having no adornment or coloration)

dry ((of food) eaten without a spread or sauce or other garnish)

chaste (pure and simple in design or style)

bare; mere; simple (apart from anything else; without additions or modifications)

austere; severe; stark; stern (severely simple)

Also:

simple (having few parts; not complex or complicated or involved)

unrhetorical (not rhetorical)

unpretentious (lacking pretension or affectation)

unadorned; undecorated (not decorated with something to increase its beauty or distinction)

Antonym:

fancy (not plain; decorative or ornamented)


Sense 3plain [BACK TO TOP]

Meaning:

Lacking patterns especially in color

Synonyms:

unpatterned; plain

Similar:

solid-colored; solid-coloured (having the same color all over)

Antonym:

patterned (having patterns (especially colorful patterns))


Sense 4plain [BACK TO TOP]

Meaning:

Not mixed with extraneous elements

Synonyms:

unmixed; unmingled; sheer; plain

Context examples:

plain water / sheer wine / not an unmixed blessing

Similar:

pure (free of extraneous elements of any kind)


Sense 5plain [BACK TO TOP]

Meaning:

Free from any effort to soften to disguise

Synonyms:

unvarnished; plain

Context examples:

the plain and unvarnished truth / the unvarnished candor of old people and children

Similar:

direct (extended senses; direct in means or manner or behavior or language or action)


Sense 6plain [BACK TO TOP]

Meaning:

Lacking embellishment or ornamentation

Synonyms:

unornamented; unembellished; spare; plain; bare

Context examples:

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

Similar:

unadorned; undecorated (not decorated with something to increase its beauty or distinction)


Sense 7plain [BACK TO TOP]

Meaning:

Lacking in physical beauty or proportion

Synonyms:

homely; plain

Context examples:

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

Similar:

unattractive (lacking beauty or charm)


PLAIN (verb)


Sense 1plain [BACK TO TOP]

Meaning:

Express complaints, discontent, displeasure, or unhappiness

Classified under:

Verbs of telling, asking, ordering, singing

Synonyms:

quetch; plain; kvetch; complain; sound off; kick

Context examples:

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

Troponyms (each of the following is one way to "plain"):

report (complain about; make a charge against)

bemoan; bewail; deplore; lament (regret strongly)

inveigh; rail (complain bitterly)

beef; bellyache; crab; gripe; grouse; holler; squawk (complain)

repine (express discontent)

protest (utter words of protest)

grouch; grumble; scold (show one's unhappiness or critical attitude)

croak; gnarl; grumble; murmur; mutter (make complaining remarks or noises under one's breath)

grizzle; whine; yammer; yawp (complain whiningly)

backbite; bitch (say mean things)

hen-peck; nag; peck (bother persistently with trivial complaints)

bleat (talk whiningly)

Sentence frames:

Somebody ----s
Somebody ----s that CLAUSE


PLAIN (adverb)


Sense 1plain [BACK TO TOP]

Meaning:

Unmistakably ('plain' is often used informally for 'plainly')

Synonyms:

evidently; manifestly; obviously; patently; plain; plainly; apparently

Context examples:

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

Domain usage:

colloquialism (a colloquial expression; characteristic of spoken or written communication that seeks to imitate informal speech)


 Learn English with... Proverbs of the week 
"A stitch in time saves nine." (English proverb)

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"Thought he was a great catch, turns out he is a shackle." (Arabic proverb)

"An open path never seems long." (Corsican proverb)

 PLAIN: related words searches 

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