• Map, Plain of Thebes
    Map, Plain of Thebes
  • WordNet 3.6
    • adj plain lacking embellishment or ornamentation "a plain hair style","unembellished white walls","functional architecture featuring stark unornamented concrete"
    • adj plain lacking in physical beauty or proportion "a homely child","several of the buildings were downright homely","a plain girl with a freckled face"
    • adj plain free from any effort to soften to disguise "the plain and unvarnished truth","the unvarnished candor of old people and children"
    • adj plain 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"
    • adj plain lacking patterns especially in color
    • adj plain not elaborate or elaborated; simple "plain food","stuck to the plain facts","a plain blue suit","a plain rectangular brick building"
    • adj plain not mixed with extraneous elements "plain water","sheer wine","not an unmixed blessing"
    • adv plain 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"
    • v plain express complaints, discontent, displeasure, or unhappiness "My mother complains all day","She has a lot to kick about"
    • n plain a basic knitting stitch
    • n plain extensive tract of level open land "they emerged from the woods onto a vast open plain","he longed for the fields of his youth"
    • ***

Additional illustrations & photos:

the Obelisk of Ûsirtasen I., Still Standing In The Plain of Heliopolis the Obelisk of Ûsirtasen I., Still Standing In The Plain of Heliopolis
Showing double-headed bull capital on a plain column Showing double-headed bull capital on a plain column
Showing a plain column with curving capital Showing a plain column with curving capital
Showing altenate plain and decorated capitals on columns and interwoven arches in relief Showing altenate plain and decorated capitals on columns and interwoven arches in relief
Writing Desk Made of Plain-Sawed Oak Writing Desk Made of Plain-Sawed Oak
Bench Made of Plain Oak Bench Made of Plain Oak
Sewing Table in Plain Oak Sewing Table in Plain Oak
The first page of The Story of the Glittering Plain The first page of The Story of the Glittering Plain

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: Baskin Robbins plain vanilla ice cream is the number one selling flavour and accounts for a quarter of their sales
    • Plain A field of battle. "Lead forth my soldiers to the plain ."
    • Plain Free from affectation or disguise; candid; sincere; artless; honest; frank.
    • adv Plain In a plain manner; plainly. "To speak short and pleyn .""To tell you plain ."
    • Plain Level land; usually, an open field or a broad stretch of land with an even surface, or a surface little varied by inequalities; as, the plain of Jordan; the American plains, or prairies. "Descending fro the mountain into playn .""Him the Ammonite
      Worshiped in Rabba and her watery plain ."
    • Plain Not highly cultivated; unsophisticated; free from show or pretension; simple; natural; homely; common.
    • Plain Not intricate or difficult; evident; manifest; obvious; clear; unmistakable. "'T is a plain case."
    • Plain Not luxurious; not highly seasoned; simple; as, plain food.
    • Plain Not much varied by modulations; as, a plain tune.
    • Plain Not variegated, dyed, or figured; as, plain muslin.
    • Plain Open; clear; unencumbered; equal; fair. "Our troops beat an army in plain fight."
    • v. i Plain To lament; to bewail; to complain. "We with piteous heart unto you pleyne ."
    • v. t Plain To lament; to mourn over; as, to plain a loss.
    • Plain To make plain or manifest; to explain. "What's dumb in show, I'll plain in speech."
    • Plain To plane or level; to make plain or even on the surface. "We would rake Europe rather, plain the East."
    • Plain Void of extraneous beauty or ornament; without conspicious embellishment; not rich; simple.
    • Plain Without beauty; not handsome; homely; as, a plain woman.
    • Plain Without elevations or depressions; flat; level; smooth; even. See Plane. "The crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain ."
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
  • Interesting fact: One plain milk chocolate candy bar has more protein than a banana.
    • plain Flat; level: smooth; even; free from elevations and depressions: as, a plain surface or country.
    • plain Open; unobstructed by intervening barriers or defenses.
    • plain Easy; free from intricacies or difficulties: as, plain exercises in shorthand.
    • plain Undisguised; frank; sincere; unreserved.
    • plain Clear; evident; manifest; easily perceived or understood: as, to make one's meaning plain; it was plain he was offended.
    • plain Unqualified: undisguised; unmistakable; sheer; downright; absolute.
    • plain Without a figured pattern; unornamented with decorative patterns or designs; also, when applied to fabrics, untwilled or uncolored: as. plain black cloth; plain muslin.
    • plain Void of ornament or bright color; without embellishment; simple; unadorned.
    • plain Without beauty; homely: as, she is plain, but clever.
    • plain Artless; simple; unlearned; without artifice or affectation; unsophisticated.
    • plain Not highly seasoned; not rich; not luxuriously dressed: as, a plain diet.
    • plain Incomplex; simple.
    • plain In card-playing, not trumps; lay: as, a plain card; a plain suit.
    • plain Whole-colored; not variegated: as, plain white eggs.
    • plain Smooth; unstriate, as muscular fiber.
    • plain Embroidery in the same color as the ground.
    • plain Clear, Evident, etc. (see manifest), distinct, patent, unmistakable, unequivocal, unambiguous, explicit, intelligible.
    • plain Unvarnished, unem-bellished.
    • n plain An extent of level, or nearly level, land; a region not noticeably diversified with mountains, hills, or valleys. The Plains, in North America, are the lands lying between the 104th meridian and the eastern base of the Rocky Mountains. This region has a gradual slope from the mountains to the Missouri and Mississippi rivers, but is nowhere broken by any conspicuous ranges of hills. It is a region of small precipitation, wooded only along the banks of the streams, and not always there. The Plains and the prairies are not properly the same, from either a geographical or a climato-logical point of view. See prairie.
    • n plain A field; especially, a field of battle.
    • n plain An open space surrounded by houses: as, St. Mary's Plain; the Theater Plain, in Norwich.
    • plain In a plain manner; plainly; clearly; openly; frankly; bluntly.
    • plain To make plain, level, or even; smooth; clear.
    • plain To make plain or clear; explain.
    • plain To lament; wail; mourn.
    • plain To whinny: said of a horse.
    • plain To lament; bewail; bemoan; mourn over.
    • plain In old music, said of certain graces or embellishments, like the beat, backfall, etc., when without extension by a shake: opposed to shaked. Also called smooth.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: To burn off one plain M&M candy, you need to walk the full length of a football field.
    • v.t., v.i Plain plān to complain: to lament
    • adj Plain plān without elevations, even, flat: level, smooth, without obstructions: free from difficulties, easy, simple: without ornament or beauty, homely: artless: sincere: evident, unmistakable: mere: not coloured, figured, or variegated: not highly seasoned, natural, not cooked or dressed: not trumps at cards
    • n Plain an extent of level land: an open field
    • adv Plain clearly: distinctly
    • v.t Plain (obs.) to make plain
    • n Plain candid speaking or acting, sincerity
    • ***


  • Phil Gramm
    Phil Gramm
    “The genius of the American system is that we have created extraordinary results from plain old ordinary people.”
  • Oscar Wilde
    “Crying is the refuge of plain women but the ruin of pretty ones.”
  • Thomas A. Bennett
    Thomas A. Bennett
    “No mind, however loving, could bear to see plainly into all the recess of another mind.”
  • Piet Hein
    Piet Hein
    “The road to wisdom? Well, it's plain and simple to express: Errand err again but less and less and less.”
  • A. E. Housman
    A. E. Housman
    “That is the land of lost content, I see it shining plain, the happy highways where I went and cannot come again.”
  • Frankie Byrne
    Frankie Byrne
    “Respect is love in plain clothes.”


Plain as a pikestaff - (UK) If something is as plain as a pikestaff, it is very clear.
Plain as the nose on your face - If something is as plain as the nose on your face, it is very clear and obvious.
Plain Jane - A plain Jane is a woman who isn't particularly attractive.
Plain sailing - If something is relatively easy and there are no problems doing it, it is plain sailing.


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
F., level, flat, fr. L. planus, perhaps akin to E. floor,. Cf. Llano Piano Plan Plane level, a level surface


In literature:

He saw her plainly, more plainly than ever he had done before.
"The Long Roll" by Mary Johnston
Traversing a fine plain of wheat, we at length reached the ancient city of Heshbon, with its acropolis of temple and castle.
"Byeways in Palestine" by James Finn
The largest square in Teheran is the Top Meidan or "Cannon plain," where several small and antiquated pieces of artillery are enclosed in a fence.
"Across Coveted Lands" by Arnold Henry Savage Landor
But it was plain to one young man sitting at the opposite end of the table that the familiarities of the man were unwelcome.
"Oh, You Tex!" by William Macleod Raine
Within a twelvemonth DeWitt Clinton had plainly made a series of serious mistakes.
"A Political History of the State of New York, Volumes 1-3" by DeAlva Stanwood Alexander
I don't want you coaxed to be plain and then not stay plain.
"Patchwork" by Anna Balmer Myers
But in plain words he had made his offer, and in plain words he required that an answer should be given to him.
"Orley Farm" by Anthony Trollope
Still, I couldn't stand that; and, after questioning Clancy's taste, I plainly told him he was mistaken.
"The Death Shot" by Mayne Reid
The "poblanas" are the pretty girls of the place; but, pretty or plain, all the girls are out to-day in their best and gayest apparel.
"The White Chief" by Mayne Reid
A remarkable feature of the Himalayas is the abruptness with which they rise from the plains in most places.
"Birds of the Indian Hills" by Douglas Dewar

In poetry:

The dawn gleams brightly
O'er the plain,
The airs come lightly
O'er the main.
"Lilly Lane" by James Avis Bartley
"Wherefore,'tis plain, 'tis not to thee
The careful task is given;
'Tis rather me; and I will go,
Safe in the care of Heaven."
"A Ballad Of 1812" by Sarah Anne Curzon
No more, ye warbling birds! rejoice:
Of all that cheer'd the plain,
Echo alone preserves her voice,
And she—repeats my pain.
"Song XIII. - Winter" by William Shenstone
Two armies covered hill and plain,
Where Rappahannock's waters
Ran deeply crimsoned with the stain
Of battle's recent slaughters.
"Music In Camp" by John Reuben Thompson
It's a sad thowt
All t' cruel sorrow this war has brought.
Two purl an' two plain.
Women in ivery hame in our land
Knittin' like all that to beat the band! . . .
Two purl an' two plain.
"Mrs. Buffey Knitting" by Dorothy Una Ratcliffe
We worry maist
For our lads on t' mine-laid watery waste.
Two purl an' two plain.
(Tears of bairnies an' sweethearts an' wives.)
It's hard to think on t' loss of sich lives I
Two purl an' two plain.
"Mrs. Buffey Knitting" by Dorothy Una Ratcliffe

In news:

A plain-spoken memoir from the man who turned bluegrass into a global sensation.
Pam Hoyt goes through some of her most precious belongings - mementos of her son's childhood - that were badly damaged when water swamped her property on Boardman Plains Road.
They're provocative, moving or just plain unpredictable—here are our favorites, and why we love them.
Adolfo de Jesus Constanzo came back to Miami last year in a plain, gray casket with a crucifix on the lid.
It is in a plain binding, and it is nothing special to look at, really.
Tablespoons shelled pumpkin seeds, plain sesame seeds, and/or black sesame seeds.
Some of these are just plain hilarious.
SOUTH OGDEN — Those plain old water towers just above Harrison Boulevard soon will become colorful pieces of artwork created by a former South Ogden resident.
Peggy Fisher Broder wrote in 1980 in a two-part series about composition for The Plain Dealer.
Says Natalie Plain, BDB's owner, "Our business goal is to ensure that every clients' brows are a thing of beauty—whether it's trimming thick, bushy brows or nurturing over-plucked brows back to their fullest potential".
"To come up with topping ideas for vegetarian burgers, I think of a big bowl of plain rice—what could I add to that bowl that would taste delicious".
On premiere red carpets and in department store parking lots, the stars were out yesterday hitting our Style Radar- from glam, to sassy, to plain ol' hot.
RT 4, a new Monsanto herbicide specially reformulated for farmer and retailer use, will be available to wheat growers across the Western Great Plains for spring 2013.
View full size John Petkovic, The Plain Dealer.
Plain Dealer photo Daniel Gilbert left no question about his anger over LeBron James' statement Thursday night.

In science:

Having the simple roots chosen in h∗ , it is plain to see, that different orbits Z may be labeled by simple roots of sw degree one, i.e. such α that Eα ∈ g1 .
Solutions to WDVV from generalized Drinfeld-Sokolov hierarchies
If energy E is larger than |m(xa )|, the eigenfunction corresponding that energy is given by the plain wave near x ∼ xa .
Random-Mass Dirac Fermions in an Imaginary Vector Potential (II): Long-Range Correlated Random Mass
It is easier to deal with a plain distributive lattice and this makes no difference for the results in references 2-5.
Physics with exotic probability theory
What the statements mean in plain terms is that, in the indicated range, a nontrivial function-field solution of a generic polynomial equation must have genus > 0.
On the geometric genus of subvarieties of generic hypersurfaces
Redo until the total sum of the (plain) degrees is even.
Random Graph Models with Hidden Color