From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishplainplain1 /pleɪn/ ●●● S2 W3 adjective 1 clearCLEAR/EASY TO UNDERSTAND very clear, and easy to understand or recognize SYN obviousit is plain (that) It was plain that Giles was not going to agree. The advantages were plain to see. You have made your feelings plain enough. Let me make it plain (=state it clearly). We do not want you here.make yourself plain (=make what you are saying clear) If you do that again you will be severely punished. Do I make myself plain?as plain as day/the nose on your face (=very clear)2 → in plain English/language3 simpleSIMPLE without anything added or without decoration SYN simple a plain white blouse a plain wooden table plain yoghurt a plain gold wedding ring Your essay should be written on plain paper (=paper with no lines on it).4 honestCLEAR/HONEST showing clearly and honestly what is true or what you think about something SYN frank, candid Let’s have some plain, truthful answers. I don’t know, and that’s the plain truth. The plain fact is people still buy books.5 emphasisVERY [only before noun] spoken used to emphasize that a particular type of behaviour, attitude etc is involved, usually a bad one His motive was plain greed. When you told him his house was too cold that was just plain bad manners.6 not beautifulUGLY not beautiful or attractive – often used because you want to avoid saying this directly Mrs Jones was a rather plain woman.plain Jane (=used to talk about a woman who is not beautiful) 7 → in plain clothes8 → (just) plain Mr/Mrs etc9 → be plain sailing10 → in plain sight —plainness noun [uncountable]THESAURUSplain without anything added, or without decorationa plain shirtThe fireplace was plain apart from a small design at the top.simple not having a lot of decoration or unnecessary things, but attractiveShe was wearing a simple black dress.The accommodation is simple but clean.austere very plain and with very little decoration, or very little in it – used about a room or place that does not make you feel welcomeHe dreaded having dinner in that austere dining room.The building was grey and a little austere.the austere beauty and grandeur of mountain scenery spartan plain and without anything that would make life easier or more comfortable – used especially about rooms, conditions, or ways of livingHer apartment is quite spartan.They had a very spartan life.stark very plain in a surprising way, with very little colour or decoration – used about rooms and placesSam sat looking at the stark white walls.It is a landscape of stark beauty. bare empty, or not covered by any decorationsHer office seemed very bare now that her desk had gone.He was tired of looking at the bare walls of his prison cell.
Examples from the Corpusplain• Once again, the desirability of clear terms of contract, coupled perhaps with an unambiguous job description, is plain.• The company makes plain and sweet biscuits and soda crackers.• Catherine, who had been rather plain as a child, was now an attractive young woman.• a plain blue suit• He put the letter in a plain brown envelope.• The document is written in plain English.• Fit a plain glass or polaroid filter over the lens Load the cassette into the camcorder in dust-free conditions.• Or is it just plain indifference?• Miles was the plain one in an otherwise good-looking family.• Stuffed hard-boiled eggs, most often called deviled eggs, can be spicy, plain or very exotic.• Cool for 1 minute, then trim using a plain pastry cutter which is slightly larger than the biscuits.• She spoke slowly and carefully, using plain simple language.• plain vanilla ice cream• Do you have any plain white shirts?• The chapel was a small, plain, white-washed building.it is plain (that)• I have given up begging to be taken back into service since it is plain Annunciata is preferred.• From what I have heard of you it is plain enough you have fled from somewhere.• However this may be, it is plain that the district judge must have tacitly rejected the argument.• Yet it is plain that the selfishness of a gene can have nothing whatever in common with human egoism.plain paper• Displaying the results Smart presentation of results should always be done on plain paper.• Therefore, the letter was on plain paper.• All this information must also be included on captions, and if plain paper is being used the address should be added.the plain truth• I've never seen her before in my life, and that's the plain truth.• That is not a metaphor, it is the plain truth.• But the plain truth is that we can not say what was really done for the children or what the results were.plain Jane• But why is legwear suddenly going from plain Jane to peacock proud?plainplain2 ●●○ noun 1 (also plains) [countable]SG a large area of flat dry land → prairie The grassy plain gave way to an extensive swamp. the vast plains of central China2 [uncountable]DLH the ordinary stitch in knittingCOLLOCATIONSadjectivesthe open plain(s)On the open plains of east Africa are zebras, antelopes, and gazelles.the vast/great plain(s)Beyond lay the vast plains of the Central Valley.a flat plainHere a group of small hills rises unexpectedly out of the flat plain.a grassy plainThe village is situated on the high grassy plains at the foot of the Sierra.a fertile plainThe rains washed soil down to create fertile plains.
Examples from the Corpusplain• The Cheyenne, who also once lived in Minnesota, hunted the region of the Black Hills and the central plains.• the central Oahu plain• Some smooth plains consist of infill in some medium sized craters.• This impressive stone building has a commanding site on a hill above the surrounding plain.• At night there were no longer any bonfires to be seen, either on the hill or way out on the surrounding plain.• Today, most travellers who see the plains do it from thirty thousand feet.• the plains of Nebraska• The plain below where the buildings once stood is as empty as when Crazy Horse surrendered there.• Tipi poles were made of the slender trunks of young lodgepole pines, and were rare items on the treeless plains.• The mica dams dry out to form white plains, with a consistency of putty.plainplain3 adverb informalVERY used to emphasize an adjective, usually one referring to a bad quality It’s just plain crazy to spend all your pay as soon as you get it.
Examples from the Corpusplain• Tell me plainly what you want.• The leaflet plainly states what the party's position is on immigration.• There was another little room, the Quiet Room, plain concrete block walls without chairs or windows.• He possesses plain good sense, and is in the full confidence of his Countrymen.• Stella Duncan was just plain lost.• They'd all queue up-excited, mistrustful or just plain scared.Origin plain1 (1200-1300) Old French Latin planus “flat, level, clear”