plain Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary

Meaning of “plain” in the English Dictionary

"plain" in British English

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uk   us   /pleɪn/

plain adjective (WITH NOTHING ADDED)

B1 not ​decorated in any way; with nothing ​added: She ​wore a plain ​blackdress. We've ​chosen a plain ​carpet (= one without a ​pattern) and ​patternedcurtains. He ​prefers plain ​food - nothing too ​fancy. We're having plain ​bluewalls in the ​diningroom. a ​cataloguesent in a plain ​brownenvelope a plain ​style of ​architecture plain ​yogurt (= with no ​addedfruit or ​sugar)plain paper paper that has no ​lines on it: a ​letter written on plain ​paper
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plain adjective (CLEAR)

C2 obvious and ​clear to ​understand: It's ​quite plain that they don't ​want to ​speak to us. The ​reason is ​perfectly plain. I made itquite plain (that) (= ​explainedclearly that) I wasn't ​interested.

plain adjective (COMPLETE)

[before noun] (used for ​emphasis) ​complete: It was plain ​stupidity on Richard's ​part.

plain adjective (NOT BEAUTIFUL)

C2 (​especially of a woman or ​girl) not ​beautiful: She had been a very plain ​child.a plain Jane a woman or ​girl who is not ​attractive: If she'd been a plain Jane, she wouldn't have had all the ​attention.
noun [U] uk   us   /-nəs/


uk   us   /pleɪn/

plain noun (LAND)

[C] (also plains [plural]) a ​largearea of ​flatland: the ​coastal plain High ​mountainsrise above the plain.

plain noun (STITCH)

[U] a ​type of ​simple stitch in knitting: a ​row of plain and two ​rows of ​purl


uk   us   /pleɪn/ informal
completely: I ​mean, taking the ​wrongequipment with you - that's just plain stupid.
(Definition of plain from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"plain" in American English

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plainadjective [-er/-est only]

 us   /pleɪn/

plain adjective [-er/-est only] (WITH NOTHING ADDED)

not ​decorated in any way; with nothing ​added: The ​catalog was ​sent in a plain ​brownenvelope. The ​food is ​pretty plain (= ​preparedsimply and without ​strongflavors), but there’s ​lots of it.

plain adjective [-er/-est only] (CLEAR)

obvious, or ​clear and ​easy to ​see or ​understand; not ​complicated: A ​group of ​wildhorses was in plain ​view (= We could ​see them ​clearly). Why can’t they write these ​instructions in plain ​English?

plain adjective [-er/-est only] (NOT ATTRACTIVE)

(esp. of a woman or ​girl) not ​attractive: She always ​thought of herself as plain.
adverb [not gradable]  us   /pleɪn/
infml It was just plain ​stupid to give him ​yourtelephonenumber.

plainnoun [C usually pl]

 us   /pleɪn/

plain noun [C usually pl] (LAND)

earth science a ​largearea of ​flatland at ​low elevation (= ​height above the ​surface of the ​earth): A ​number of ​paintings by Western ​artists show ​Indiansettlements in the plains.
(Definition of plain from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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