Definition of plainly in English:



  • 1Able to be perceived easily.

    as submodifier ‘a light was plainly visible’
    ‘she could plainly hear footsteps behind her’
    • ‘You're resplendent young ladies, that is plainly seen!’
    • ‘She could plainly see that the earth was rough and irregular.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A sinister yet plainly demarcated force of evil is ever-present in his films.’
    • ‘The handle plainly showed the marks of the tool that had carved it.’
    • ‘In that darkness, any little star showed as plainly as a sun.’
    • ‘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 newspaper-plastered windows are plainly visible from the bus station.’
    1. 1.1sentence adverb Used to state one's belief that something is obviously or undeniably true.
      ‘her mother was plainly anxious to leave’
      • ‘Plainly, such a practical result cannot be achieved by an auditorium or a swimming pool, perfunctorily named a memorial.’
      • ‘Plainly, the animal is a hedgehog uncurling itself from the frozen leaves and sticks under which it is hibernating.’
      • ‘Plainly, the incident with the lion caused an incredible fear within him.’
      • ‘There was plainly total agreement between the parents as to what they should do in the best interests of their children.’
      • ‘Plainly, she knows what he does.’
      • ‘If the original film was something of a feminist diatribe, the undercurrent of the remake is plainly reactionary.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The first version, set inside her living room as they discuss her plans, is elaborately mounted but plainly incomplete.’
      • ‘At one point, he was plainly off-key.’
    2. 1.2 In a direct and honest way without concealment or deception.
      ‘to speak plainly, I suffer from a lack of confidence’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I will ask you plainly: are you a spy?’
      • ‘He plainly confessed it in his autobiography, as did his ex-wife in her rather sympathetic memoir of their years together.’
      • ‘He plainly demanded to be in the thick of the action all of the time.’
      • ‘Make sure that the conditions for using this insurance are plainly stated in the house rules.’
      • ‘To put it plainly, the young grandmaster made the opening look like it loses by force!’
      • ‘As he told his tale, he spoke as plainly as he could.’
      • ‘The famed financier plainly divulged that he was taking money out of the pockets of British taxpayers.’
      • ‘The author plainly admits that the process was not an easy one.’
      • ‘He plainly acknowledged that his DNA suggested no hint of success at anything.’
  • 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.’
    • ‘The entrance seems to have been devoid of ornament, with windows cut plainly into the brickwork.’
    • ‘They were dressed plainly, and their pale pointed faces and weird dark eyes made them look meek and fragile.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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 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 plainly painted individual units are fitted together the way a careful child would stack blocks.’
    • ‘Centred on each wall was a crisp scale drawing, plainly framed, rendering that wall and its temporary features.’
    • ‘The varied handling of paint ranges from near transparency to effects plainly achieved with spray and brush.’
    • ‘The book is plainly produced, with 48 black-and-white illustrations.’