from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The condition of being plain (in all senses)
  • n. The product or result of being plain

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The quality or state of being plain.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The state or quality of being plain

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the state of being unmixed with other material
  • n. clarity as a consequence of being perspicuous
  • n. an appearance that is not attractive or beautiful
  • n. the appearance of being plain and unpretentious


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From plain +‎ -ness


  • There are two differing roots for this term: Some claim it refers to the plainness of vanilla ice cream as opposed to those who like more adventurous flavors; others believe it comes from techno-culture, where a “vanilla” PC means a very basic machine, without bells and whistles.

    Come Hither

  • I think Presbyterians have erred in plainness in ecclesiastical life.

    Two Tokens of National Progress

  • Let pride, which she calls plainness, marry her! [

    Shakespearean Tragedy Lectures on Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth

  • And this effect was enhanced by what may be called his plainness, his awkwardness, and actual eccentricity in many minor matters.

    Abraham Lincoln

  • At this I fairly lost all patience, and gave the Graf my opinion of his conduct in terms the plainness of which left nothing to be desired.

    Stories By English Authors: Italy (Selected by Scribners)

  • Under this virtue may come plainness, which is not to be curious in the order as to answer a letter, as if you were to answer to interrogatories.

    Discoveries Made Upon Men and Matter and Some Poems

  • The author of Interpreter of Maladies and The Namesake talks about her affinity for "plainness," why she avoids book reviews, and her new collection of short stories.

    Jhumpa Lahiri

  • They were quite baffling in their "plainness" with a Satie-like quality quite unlike anything else of that period I have ever heard or played.

    Off sick

  • His wife was a white-haired little lady, dressed plainly -- the expensive kind of plainness, you know -- and with a diamond pin that was about as wonderful as anything I ever saw.

    Galusha the Magnificent

  • The ideal of "plainness" has been an effectual restraint.

    Quaker Hill A Sociological Study


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