Definition of (as) plain as a pikestaff in English:

(as) plain as a pikestaff

phrase

historical
  • 1Very obvious.

    • ‘"It is plain as a pikestaff, is it not, say the Crown that this attack on Mr Turner was committed by men who had looked for and found weapons and had chosen a fence as a suitable source for those weapons.’
    • ‘It is characteristic of thoughtful people that they don't understand some things that to others are as plain as a pikestaff.’
    • ‘Now there may be some at St. Blogs to whom it is plain as a pikestaff what the bishop needs to be doing.’
    • ‘‘It's as plain as a pikestaff,’ spokesman John Beyer told Private Aye, ‘that there's an attempt to influence public opinion.’’
    • ‘Why Ireland scores poorly is as plain as a pikestaff.’
    • ‘But after the battering that it has taken this week, it is as plain as a pikestaff that most observers will be lining up with the Department of Finance on this one.’
    • ‘The reason for America's present activist foreign policy is as plain as a pikestaff and is known to everybody.’
    • ‘It is as plain as a pikestaff that you had too much to drink.’
    • ‘The Attorney General filed an immediate petition to rehear saying "it is as plain as a pikestaff that a judge has no authority to impose a sentence above the presumptive minimum unless an enhancement factor is found."’
    • ‘It is as plain as a pikestaff that we did not have all the relevant facts before us when we voted on March 18.’
    clear, plain, plain to see, crystal clear, evident, apparent, manifest, patent, conspicuous, pronounced, transparent, clear-cut, palpable, prominent, marked, decided, salient, striking, distinct, bold, noticeable, perceptible, perceivable, visible, discernible, detectable, observable, tangible, recognizable
    View synonyms
  • 2Ordinary or unattractive in appearance.

    • ‘"Queer child, that Hatty!—plain as a pikestaff", and Mr. Lee took up his newspaper, and put his feet on the mantel.’
    • ‘Good god, man, she's plain as a pikestaff with a wardrobe fresh out of the Salvation Army.’
    unattractive, plain, plain-featured, plain-looking, plain as a pikestaff, ordinary-looking, unprepossessing, unlovely, ill-favoured, ugly
    View synonyms

Origin

Alteration of as plain as a packstaff, the staff being that of a pedlar, on which he rested his pack of wares.