plain Definition in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo
Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

Definition of “plain” - English Dictionary

"plain" in American English

See all translations

plainadjective [-er/-est only]

 us   /pleɪn/
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.
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?
(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/
earth science a ​largearea of ​flatland at ​lowelevation (= ​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)







"plain" in British English

See all translations

plainadjective

uk   /pleɪn/  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

expend iconexpend iconMore examples

  • plain adjective (COMPLETE)

[before noun] (used for ​emphasis) ​complete: It was plain ​stupidity on Richard's ​part.
plainness
noun [U] uk   /ˈpleɪn.nəs/  us   /ˈpleɪn.nəs/

plainnoun

uk   /pleɪn/  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   /pleɪn/  us   /pleɪn/ informal
(Definition of plain from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of plain?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website
There, their and they’re – which one should you use?
There, their and they’re – which one should you use?
by ,
April 27, 2016
by Liz Walter If you are a learner of English and you are confused about the words there, their and they’re, let me reassure you: many, many people with English as their first language share your problem! You only have to take a look at the ‘comments’ sections on the website of, for example, a popular

Read More 

Word of the Day

cracker

a thin, flat, hard biscuit, especially one eaten with cheese

Word of the Day

bio-banding noun
bio-banding noun
April 25, 2016
in sport, grouping children according to their physical maturity rather than their age ‘When we’re grouping children for sports, we do it by age groups, but the problem is that, within those age groups, we get huge variations in biological age,’ said Dr Sean Cumming, senior lecturer at the University of Bath’s department for

Read More