Definition of plainly in English:



  • 1Able to be perceived easily.

    as submodifier ‘a light was plainly visible’
    ‘she could plainly hear footsteps behind her’
    • ‘A sinister yet plainly demarcated force of evil is ever-present in his films.’
    • ‘I passed the doors as I was going to bed, and I heard something wailing and praying just as plainly as I hear you.’
    • ‘That same shock was now plainly visible in Mallory's eyes.’
    • ‘The rock-strewn sand of the bottom was plainly visible.’
    • ‘Before the door had closed again, Eliza's singing could be heard plainly from farther down the corridor.’
    • ‘The handle plainly showed the marks of the tool that had carved it.’
    • ‘The newspaper-plastered windows are plainly visible from the bus station.’
    • ‘You're resplendent young ladies, that is plainly seen!’
    • ‘In that darkness, any little star showed as plainly as a sun.’
    • ‘She could plainly see that the earth was rough and irregular.’
    1. 1.1sentence adverb Used to state one's belief that something is obviously or undeniably true.
      ‘her mother was plainly anxious to leave’
      • ‘If the original film was something of a feminist diatribe, the undercurrent of the remake is plainly reactionary.’
      • ‘There was plainly total agreement between the parents as to what they should do in the best interests of their children.’
      • ‘Plainly, the incident with the lion caused an incredible fear within him.’
      • ‘Plainly, the animal is a hedgehog uncurling itself from the frozen leaves and sticks under which it is hibernating.’
      • ‘Plainly, she knows what he does.’
      • ‘Plainly, such a practical result cannot be achieved by an auditorium or a swimming pool, perfunctorily named a memorial.’
      • ‘At one point, he was plainly off-key.’
      • ‘The first version, set inside her living room as they discuss her plans, is elaborately mounted but plainly incomplete.’
      • ‘Their act—which is plainly felonious—has serious consequences.’
      • ‘It is plainly ridiculous to expect artwork on the order of what one finds on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in ordinary places of commerce.’
    2. 1.2 In a direct and honest way without concealment or deception.
      ‘to speak plainly, I suffer from a lack of confidence’
      • ‘He plainly demanded to be in the thick of the action all of the time.’
      • ‘The author plainly admits that the process was not an easy one.’
      • ‘To put it plainly, the young grandmaster made the opening look like it loses by force!’
      • ‘Make sure that the conditions for using this insurance are plainly stated in the house rules.’
      • ‘I will ask you plainly: are you a spy?’
      • ‘As he told his tale, he spoke as plainly as he could.’
      • ‘He plainly acknowledged that his DNA suggested no hint of success at anything.’
      • ‘He plainly confessed it in his autobiography, as did his ex-wife in her rather sympathetic memoir of their years together.’
      • ‘The famed financier plainly divulged that he was taking money out of the pockets of British taxpayers.’
      • ‘If the evidence that existed always spoke plainly, truthfully, and clearly to us, historians would have no work to do, and no opportunity to argue with each other.’
  • 2In a style that is not elaborate or luxurious; simply.

    ‘he lived plainly and worked hard’
    ‘she is plainly dressed in a T-shirt and trousers’
    • ‘The largest part of the composition is taken up by the siding of a house, which is painted plainly, geometrically, in turquoise.’
    • ‘Furnishings, such as the plainly designed stove and slatted reclining chairs, are in keeping with the spare skeletal structure, as are the floors of wooden decking.’
    • ‘The varied handling of paint ranges from near transparency to effects plainly achieved with spray and brush.’
    • ‘The plainly painted individual units are fitted together the way a careful child would stack blocks.’
    • ‘The entrance seems to have been devoid of ornament, with windows cut plainly into the brickwork.’
    • ‘The room was plainly appointed and contained one large bed piled high with furs, a small washstand, and a tall cupboard with a mirror bolted to one of the doors.’
    • ‘The book is plainly produced, with 48 black-and-white illustrations.’
    • ‘Centred on each wall was a crisp scale drawing, plainly framed, rendering that wall and its temporary features.’
    • ‘An undulating wall guides you to the reception desk where the floor has been cut away so that wooden forms, plainly hollow at the upper level, are two storeys high.’
    • ‘They were dressed plainly, and their pale pointed faces and weird dark eyes made them look meek and fragile.’