English dictionary

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English adjective: plain

1. plain clearly revealed to the mind or the senses or judgment

SamplesThe 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.

Synonymsapparent, evident, manifest, patent, unmistakable



2. plain not elaborate or elaborated; simple

SamplesPlain food.
Stuck to the plain facts.
A plain blue suit.
A plain rectangular brick building.

Similaraustere, bare, chaste, dry, dry, featureless, homely, inelaborate, literal, mere, severe, simple, simple, stark, stern, tailored, trim, unelaborate, vanilla

See alsosimple, unadorned, undecorated, unpretentious, unrhetorical


3. plain lacking patterns especially in color


Similarsolid-colored, solid-coloured


4. plain not mixed with extraneous elements

SamplesPlain water.
Sheer wine.
Not an unmixed blessing.

Synonymssheer, unmingled, unmixed



5. plain free from any effort to soften to disguise

SamplesThe plain and unvarnished truth.
The unvarnished candor of old people and children.




6. plain lacking embellishment or ornamentation

SamplesA plain hair style.
Unembellished white walls.
Functional architecture featuring stark unornamented concrete.

Synonymsbare, spare, unembellished, unornamented

Similarunadorned, undecorated

Antonymsadorned, decorated

7. plain lacking in physical beauty or proportion

SamplesA homely child.
Several of the buildings were downright homely.
A plain girl with a freckled face.




English noun: plain

1. plain (object) extensive tract of level open land

SamplesThey emerged from the woods onto a vast open plain.
He longed for the fields of his youth.

Synonymschampaign, field

Broader (hypernym)dry land, earth, ground, land, solid ground, terra firma

Narrower (hyponym)flat, flood plain, floodplain, llano, moor, moorland, peneplain, peneplane, snowfield, steppe, tundra

Instance hyponymNullarbor Plain, Olympia, Serengeti, Serengeti Plain

2. plain (artifact) a basic knitting stitch

Synonymsknit, knit stitch, plain stitch

Broader (hypernym)knitting stitch

English adverb: plain

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

SamplesThe 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.

Synonymsapparently, evidently, manifestly, obviously, patently, plainly

Domain usagecolloquialism

English verb: plain

1. plain (communication) express complaints, discontent, displeasure, or unhappiness

SamplesMy mother complains all day.
She has a lot to kick about.

Synonymscomplain, kick, kvetch, quetch, sound off

Pattern of useSomebody ----s.
Somebody ----s that CLAUSE

Narrower (hyponym)backbite, beef, bellyache, bemoan, bewail, bitch, bitch, bleat, crab, croak, deplore, gnarl, gripe, grizzle, grouch, grouse, grumble, grumble, hen-peck, holler, inveigh, lament, murmur, mutter, nag, peck, protest, rail, repine, report, scold, squawk, whine, yammer, yawp

Antonymschirk up, cheer up, cheer

Based on WordNet 3.0 copyright © Princeton University.
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