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Related to plains: Great Plains, Plains Indians


adj. plain·er, plain·est
1. Free from obstructions; open; clear: in plain view.
2. Obvious to the perception or mind; evident: make one's intention plain. See Synonyms at apparent.
a. Not elaborate or complicated; simple: plain food.
b. Marked by little or no ornamentation or decoration: plain garb.
c. Straightforward; frank or candid: plain talk.
d. Not pretentious; unaffected.
e. Lacking beauty or distinction: a plain face.
4. Not mixed with other substances; pure: plain water.
5. Common in rank or station; average; ordinary: a plain man.
6. Not dyed, twilled, or patterned: a plain fabric.
7. Sheer; utter; unqualified: plain stupidity.
8. Archaic Having no visible elevation or depression; flat; level.
a. often plains An extensive, level, usually treeless area of land.
b. A broad level expanse, as a part of the sea floor or a lunar mare.
2. Something free of ornamentation or extraneous matter.
adv. Informal
Clearly; simply: plain stubborn.

[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin plānus; see pelə- in Indo-European roots.]

plain′ly adv.
plain′ness n.
Synonyms: plain, modest, simple, unpretentious
These adjectives mean not ornate, ostentatious, or showy: a plain hairstyle; a modest cottage; a simple dark suit; an unpretentious country church.
Antonym: ornate
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


pl n
(Physical Geography) chiefly US extensive tracts of level or almost level treeless countryside; prairies
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014
References in classic literature ?
The plains were swept by keen and bitter blasts of wintry wind; the ground was generally covered with snow, game was scarce, so that hunger generally prevailed in the camp, while the want of pasturage soon began to manifest itself in the declining vigor of the horses.
Far away, says he, over the vast plains, and up the steep sides of the lofty mountains, the snow lay spread in dazzling whiteness: and whenever the sun emerged in the morning above the giant peaks, or burst forth from among clouds in his midday course, mountain and dell, glazed rock and frosted tree, glowed and sparkled with surpassing lustre.
The troops were now encamped on the banks of the Colorado; a river lying about eighty miles northward of the Rio Negro When General Rosas left Buenos Ayres he struck in a direct line across the unexplored plains: and as the country was thus pretty well cleared of Indians, he left behind him, at wide intervals, a small party of soldiers with a troop of horses (a posta), so as to be enabled to keep up a communication with the capital.
The Agouti is a true friend of the desert; it is a common feature of the landscape to see two or three hopping quickly one after the other in a straight line across these wild plains. They are found as far north as the Sierra Tapalguen (lat.
We arrived at this happy place about noon, and the next day at evening left those fanning winds, and woods flourishing with unfading verdure, for the dismal barrenness of the vast uninhabitable plains, from which Abyssinia is supplied with salt.
The heat making it impossible to travel through this plain in the day-time, we set out in the evening, and in the night lost our way.
There are swift-flowing rivers which dash through jagged canons; and there are enormous plains, which in winter are white with snow, and in summer are grey with the saline alkali dust.
Are these plains composed of arid sand, as the first astronomer maintained?
This region, which resembles one of the immeasurable steppes of Asia, has not inaptly been termed "the great American desert." It spreads forth into undulating and treeless plains, and desolate sandy wastes wearisome to the eye from their extent and monotony, and which are supposed by geologists to have formed the ancient floor of the ocean, countless ages since, when its primeval waves beat against the granite bases of the Rocky Mountains.
Cautiously I crept up the stairway to the tunnel's end, and peering out saw the broad plain of Phutra before me.
The noise reached far out over the plain and across the hills and awoke the little babes that were sleeping in their cradles.
A two days' march brought them to a level plain beyond which lay mountains--a plain which Tarzan remembered and which aroused within him vague half memories and strange longings.