Definition of plainly in English:



  • 1Able to be perceived easily.

    [as submodifier] ‘a light was plainly visible’
    ‘she could plainly hear footsteps behind her’
    • ‘She could plainly see that the earth was rough and irregular.’
    • ‘Before the door had closed again, Eliza's singing could be heard plainly from farther down the corridor.’
    • ‘The newspaper-plastered windows are plainly visible from the bus station.’
    • ‘I passed the doors as I was going to bed, and I heard something wailing and praying just as plainly as I hear you.’
    • ‘The rock-strewn sand of the bottom was plainly visible.’
    • ‘A sinister yet plainly demarcated force of evil is ever-present in his films.’
    • ‘In that darkness, any little star showed as plainly as a sun.’
    • ‘You're resplendent young ladies, that is plainly seen!’
    • ‘The handle plainly showed the marks of the tool that had carved it.’
    • ‘That same shock was now plainly visible in Mallory's eyes.’
    1. 1.1[sentence adverb]Used to state one's belief that something is obviously or undeniably true.
      ‘her mother was plainly anxious to leave’
      • ‘At one point, he was plainly off-key.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Plainly, such a practical result cannot be achieved by an auditorium or a swimming pool, perfunctorily named a memorial.’
      • ‘Plainly, the incident with the lion caused an incredible fear within him.’
      • ‘Plainly, she knows what he does.’
      • ‘There was plainly total agreement between the parents as to what they should do in the best interests of their children.’
      • ‘Their act—which is plainly felonious—has serious consequences.’
      • ‘Plainly, the animal is a hedgehog uncurling itself from the frozen leaves and sticks under which it is hibernating.’
      • ‘If the original film was something of a feminist diatribe, the undercurrent of the remake is plainly reactionary.’
    2. 1.2In a direct and honest way without concealment or deception.
      ‘to speak plainly, I suffer from a lack of confidence’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He plainly acknowledged that his DNA suggested no hint of success at anything.’
      • ‘The author plainly admits that the process was not an easy one.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I will ask you plainly: are you a spy?’
      • ‘To put it plainly, the young grandmaster made the opening look like it loses by force!’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Make sure that the conditions for using this insurance are plainly stated in the house rules.’
  • 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’
    • ‘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 entrance seems to have been devoid of ornament, with windows cut plainly into the brickwork.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘They were dressed plainly, and their pale pointed faces and weird dark eyes made them look meek and fragile.’
    • ‘The plainly painted individual units are fitted together the way a careful child would stack blocks.’
    • ‘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 largest part of the composition is taken up by the siding of a house, which is painted plainly, geometrically, in turquoise.’
    • ‘The book is plainly produced, with 48 black-and-white illustrations.’
    • ‘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.’