plain


plain
plain adj
1 plane, flat, *level, even, smooth, flush
Antonyms: solid
2 clear, distinct, obvious, *evident, manifest, patent, apparent, palpable
Analogous words: *clear, lucid, perspicuous: *explicit, express, definite, specific, categorical
Antonyms: abstruse
3 Plain, homely, simple, unpretentious are comparable when they mean devoid of whatever embellishes or makes for superficial beauty.
Plain stresses lack of anything (as ornamentation, complexity, extraneous matter, or strongly marked characteristics) likely to attract attention
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had no eccentricity even to take him out of the common run; he was just a good, dull, honest, plain man— Maugham

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a plain two-story frame house

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Additionally it may suggest elegance
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his brown stockings . . . were of a fine texture; his shoes and buckles, too, though plain, were trim— Dickens

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or frugality
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a plain skirt of serviceable gray flannel

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or, with reference to personal appearance, lack of positive characteristics, and then contrasts with beautiful but without implying positive ugliness
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was not a plain woman, and she might have been very pretty still— Glasgow

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In reference to houses, furniture, food, and other elements of domesticity, homely sometimes suggests homey and may indicate comfortable informality without ostentation
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his secluded wife ever smiling and cheerful, his little comfortable lodgings, snug meals, and homely evenings, had all the charms of novelty and secrecy— Thackeray

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It may connote warmth and simplicity
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a book-learned language, wholly remote from anything personal, native, or homelyCather

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With reference to appearance homely in American but not usually in British usage often falls between plain and ugly
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she was certainly not bad-looking now and she could never have been so homely as she imagined— Edmund Wilson

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Simple may occasionally differ slightly from plain in implying choice rather than compulsive circumstance
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what was then called the simple life ... is recognizable as the austere luxury of a very cultivated poet— Repplier

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a monk of Lindisfarne, so simple and lowly in temper that he traveled on foot on his long mission journeys— J. R. Green

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Unpretentious, stressing lack of vanity or affectation, may praise a person but depreciate a possession
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an unpretentious family doctor without the specialist's curt loftiness

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an unpretentious and battered old car

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Analogous words: *ugly, ill-favored, unsightly, hideous: barren, *bare, bald: unembellished, unadorned, undecorated, unornamented, ungarnished (see corresponding affirmative verbs at ADORN)
Antonyms: lovely
4 *frank, candid, open
Analogous words: forthright, *straightforward, aboveboard: blunt, *bluff: *sincere, unfeigned

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • plain — plain …   Dictionnaire des rimes

  • plain — plain, aine 1. (plin, plè n ) adj. 1°   Qui est sans inégalités, uni. •   Si le pays est bossu ou plain, couvert de bois ou découvert, VAUBAN. Dîme, p. 223. •   Des cascades dans des lieux plains et sablonneux, J. J. ROUSS. Hél. IV, 11.… …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

  • Plain — Plain, a. [Compar. {Plainer}; superl. {Plainest}.] [F., level, flat, fr. L. planus, perhaps akin to E. floor. Cf. {Llano}, {Piano}, {Plan}, {Plane} level, a level surface.] 1. Without elevations or depressions; flat; level; smooth; even. See… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • plain — PLAIN, [pl]aine. adj. Il signifie proprement, Qui est uni, plat, & sans inegalitez: & il reçoit divers sens selon les divers substantifs, ausquels il se joint. Ainsi on dit, qu Une maison est en plain champ, en plaine campagne, pour dire, qu Elle …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • plain — plain1 [plān] adj. [OFr < L planus, flat, level < IE base * plā , broad, flat > FLOOR, FIELD] 1. Obs. flat; level; plane 2. free from obstructions; open; clear [in plain view] 3. clearly understood; evident; obvious [to make one s meani …   English World dictionary

  • plain — [adj1] clear, obvious apparent, audible, big as life*, broad, comprehensible, definite, distinct, evident, legible, lucid, manifest, open, open and shut*, palpable, patent, talking turkey*, transparent, understandable, visible; concepts… …   New thesaurus

  • Plain — Plain, n. [Cf. OF. plaigne, F. plaine. See {Plain}, a.] 1. 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.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Plain — Plain, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Plained}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Plaining}.] [Cf. {Plane}, v.] 1. To plane or level; to make plain or even on the surface. [R.] [1913 Webster] We would rake Europe rather, plain the East. Wither. [1913 Webster] 2. To make… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Plain — ist der Name folgender Personen: Honest John Plain Maria Plain sowie des Adelsgeschlechts: Grafen von Plain Plain ist ein Ortsname: Plain (Wisconsin) Diese Seite ist eine …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Plain — Plain, adv. In a plain manner; plainly. To speak short and pleyn. Chaucer. To tell you plain. Shak. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English