plain Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary
Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

Meaning of “plain” in the English Dictionary

"plain" in British English

See all translations

plainadjective

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
More examples

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.
plainness
noun [U] uk   us   /-nəs/

plainnoun

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

plainadverb

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

See all translations

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.
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)
What is the pronunciation of plain?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website
Word of the Day

harvest

to pick and collect crops, or to collect plants, animals, or fish to eat

Word of the Day

Meerkat meme
Meerkat meme
by Colin McIntosh,
September 03, 2015
Meerkats are not new to popular culture (they appear in the folk tales of the San people of the Kalahari), but their arrival in the public’s consciousness, at least in the UK and the US, is a relatively recent phenomenon. Meerkats are small, sociable Southern African mammals that live in large family

Read More 

parklet noun
parklet noun
August 31, 2015
a public outdoor space that may be associated with a local business but where anyone can sit Pop-up cafes in NY are what’s actually called parklets in many other places around the country.

Read More