(1)   Lacking embellishment or ornamentation
"A plain hair style"
"Unembellished white walls"
"Functional architecture featuring stark unornamented concrete"
(2)   Lacking in physical beauty or proportion
"A homely child"
"Several of the buildings were downright homely"
"A plain girl with a freckled face"
(3)   Free from any effort to soften to disguise
"The plain and unvarnished truth"
"The unvarnished candor of old people and children"
(4)   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"
(5)   Lacking patterns especially in color
(6)   Not elaborate or elaborated; simple
"Plain food"
"Stuck to the plain facts"
"A plain blue suit"
"A plain rectangular brick building"
(7)   Not mixed with extraneous elements
"Plain water"
"Sheer wine"
"Not an unmixed blessing"


(8)   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"


(9)   A basic knitting stitch
(10)   Extensive tract of level open land
"They emerged from the woods onto a vast open plain"
"He longed for the fields of his youth"


(11)   Express complaints, discontent, displeasure, or unhappiness
"My mother complains all day"
"She has a lot to kick about"

Etymology 1

From , from .


  1. ordinary; lacking adornment or ornamentation.
  2. unseasoned
    Would you like a poppy bagel or a plain bagel?
  3. containing no non-printing characters; ASCII code values 32 through 126.



Etymology 2

From , from , neuter substantive from .


  1. An expanse of land with relatively low relief.
    • 1961: J. A. Philip. Mimesis in the Sophistês of Plato. In: Proceedings and Transactions of the American Philological Association 92. p. 467.
      For Plato the life of the philosopher is a life of struggle towards the goal of knowledge, towards “searching the heavens and measuring the plains, in all places seeking the nature of everything as a whole”