One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
The wooden shaft of a pike.
pole, stick, rod, staff, shank, uprightView synonyms
- ‘Skewered on a pikestaff high above the city, the silenced heads spoke eloquently of the fate awaiting those who dared plot against rulers of city and country.’
- ‘Stick your head through and hey presto, it looks to have been impaled on a pikestaff above York's royal gateway.’
- ‘The judge will refrain from any references to his quill, or his gavel, or his pikestaff, and allow the defendant to be released to spread its insidious gospel.’
(as) plain as a pikestaff
1historical Very obvious.
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, recognizableView synonyms
- ‘It is as plain as a pikestaff that you had too much to drink.’
- ‘"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.’
- ‘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."’
- ‘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.’
- ‘‘It's as plain as a pikestaff,’ spokesman John Beyer told Private Aye, ‘that there's an attempt to influence public opinion.’’
- ‘The reason for America's present activist foreign policy is as plain as a pikestaff and is known to everybody.’
- ‘Why Ireland scores poorly is 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 is characteristic of thoughtful people that they don't understand some things that to others are as plain as a pikestaff.’
- ‘It is as plain as a pikestaff that we did not have all the relevant facts before us when we voted on March 18.’
2historical Ordinary or unattractive in appearance.
unattractive, plain, plain-featured, plain-looking, plain as a pikestaff, ordinary-looking, unprepossessing, unlovely, ill-favoured, uglyView synonyms
- ‘"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.’
Late 16th century: from pike + staff.
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