plain


plain
plain1
plainly, adv.plainness, n.
/playn/, adj., plainer, plainest, adv., n. adj.
1. clear or distinct to the eye or ear: a plain trail to the river; to stand in plain view.
2. clear to the mind; evident, manifest, or obvious: to make one's meaning plain.
3. conveying the meaning clearly and simply; easily understood: plain talk.
4. downright; sheer; utter; self-evident: plain folly; plain stupidity.
5. free from ambiguity or evasion; candid; outspoken: the plain truth of the matter.
6. without special pretensions, superiority, elegance, etc.; ordinary: plain people.
7. not beautiful; physically unattractive or undistinguished: a plain face.
8. without intricacies or difficulties.
9. ordinary, simple, or unostentatious: Although she was a duchess, her manners were attractively plain.
10. with little or no embellishment, decoration, or enhancing elaboration: a plain blue suit.
11. without a pattern, figure, or device: a plain fabric.
12. not rich, highly seasoned, or elaborately prepared, as food: a plain diet.
13. flat or level: plain country.
14. unobstructed, clear, or open, as ground, a space, etc.
15. Cards. being other than a face card or a trump.
adv.
16. clearly and simply: He's just plain stupid.
n.
17. an area of land not significantly higher than adjacent areas and with relatively minor differences in elevation, commonly less than 500 ft. (150 m), within the area.
18. The Plains. See Great Plains.
[1250-1300; ME (adj., adv., and n.) < OF (adj. and n.) < L planus flat, level, planum flat country]
Syn. 1, 2. lucid, understandable, intelligible, unmistakable, apparent, perspicuous. 2. 3. unambiguous, unequivocal, patent, transparent; direct. 5. unreserved, straightforward, blunt, frank, ingenuous, open, sincere. 6. unpretentious. 10. unadorned. See homely.
Ant. 1. indistinct. 2. obscure. 13. hilly.
plain2
/playn/, v.i. Brit. Dial.
to complain.
[1250-1300; ME plei(g)nen < OF plaign-, s. of plaindre < L plangere to beat (the breast, etc.), lament; akin to Gk pléssein to strike]

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I
Any relatively level area of the Earth's surface that exhibits gentle slopes and small local relief (differences in elevation).

Occupying slightly more than one-third of the terrestrial surface, plains are found on all continents except Antarctica. Some are tree-covered, and others are grassy. Still others support scrub brush and bunch grass, and a few are nearly waterless deserts. With certain exceptions, plains have become the sites of major centres of population, industry, commerce, and transportation.
II
(as used in expressions)
Esdraelon Plain of
Indo Gangetic Plain
Plain the
Reeds Plain of
Sharon Plain of
Abraham Plains of

* * *

      any relatively level area of the Earth's surface exhibiting gentle slopes and small local relief. Plains vary widely in size. The smallest occupy only a few hectares, whereas the largest cover hundreds of thousands of square kilometres—as, for example, the Great Plains of North America and the expanse of gently undulating land that sweeps from the Pyrenees Range on the French–Spanish border across northern Europe and Asia almost halfway around the world nearly to the Bering Sea.

      Occupying slightly more than one-third of the terrestrial surface, plains are found on all continents except Antarctica. They occur north of the Arctic circle, in the tropics, and in the middle latitudes. Corresponding to their broad geographical distribution, the plains of the world show considerable variation in vegetation. Some are tree covered and others are grassy. Still others support scrub brush and bunch grass, while a few, which are nearly waterless deserts, have only the most sparse and scanty plant life. See Pampas, the; prairie.

      The major plains of North America, South America, Europe, and Asia occur in the continental interiors, but broad extensions of some of these flat lands reach the Atlantic coast. The largest plains of Africa occupy a vast portion of the Sahara and extend southward into the Congo and Kalahari basins. Most of the interior of Australia, from the mountains along the eastern margin to the plateaus in the far west, is one vast desert plain.

      The majority of the world's most extensive plains were formed as a result of the dominance of erosional and depositional processes over tectonic activity—e.g., uplift or subsidence of the Earth's crust. By contrast, a large number of smaller plains developed in areas where crustal deformation was quite intense. Most of these consist of depressed crustal segments that have been partly filled by sand, clay, and rock debris deposited by streams from adjoining highlands.

      With certain exceptions, plains have become the sites of major centres of population, industry, commerce, and transportation. Their flat surfaces are easily cultivated and usually contain the most productive soil. Moreover, such areas of low relief present few obstacles to land transportation, and the rivers running across them are generally much easier to navigate than are those of rougher terrain.

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Universalium. 2010.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • plain — plain …   Dictionnaire des rimes

  • plain — plain, aine 1. (plin, plè n ) adj. 1°   Qui est sans inégalités, uni. •   Si le pays est bossu ou plain, couvert de bois ou découvert, VAUBAN. Dîme, p. 223. •   Des cascades dans des lieux plains et sablonneux, J. J. ROUSS. Hél. IV, 11.… …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

  • Plain — Plain, a. [Compar. {Plainer}; superl. {Plainest}.] [F., level, flat, fr. L. planus, perhaps akin to E. floor. Cf. {Llano}, {Piano}, {Plan}, {Plane} level, a level surface.] 1. Without elevations or depressions; flat; level; smooth; even. See… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • plain — PLAIN, [pl]aine. adj. Il signifie proprement, Qui est uni, plat, & sans inegalitez: & il reçoit divers sens selon les divers substantifs, ausquels il se joint. Ainsi on dit, qu Une maison est en plain champ, en plaine campagne, pour dire, qu Elle …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • plain — plain1 [plān] adj. [OFr < L planus, flat, level < IE base * plā , broad, flat > FLOOR, FIELD] 1. Obs. flat; level; plane 2. free from obstructions; open; clear [in plain view] 3. clearly understood; evident; obvious [to make one s meani …   English World dictionary

  • plain — adj 1 plane, flat, *level, even, smooth, flush Antonyms: solid 2 clear, distinct, obvious, *evident, manifest, patent, apparent, palpable Analogous words: *clear, lucid, perspicuous: *explicit, express, definite, specific, categorical Antonyms:… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • plain — [adj1] clear, obvious apparent, audible, big as life*, broad, comprehensible, definite, distinct, evident, legible, lucid, manifest, open, open and shut*, palpable, patent, talking turkey*, transparent, understandable, visible; concepts… …   New thesaurus

  • Plain — Plain, n. [Cf. OF. plaigne, F. plaine. See {Plain}, a.] 1. Level land; usually, an open field or a broad stretch of land with an even surface, or a surface little varied by inequalities; as, the plain of Jordan; the American plains, or prairies.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Plain — Plain, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Plained}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Plaining}.] [Cf. {Plane}, v.] 1. To plane or level; to make plain or even on the surface. [R.] [1913 Webster] We would rake Europe rather, plain the East. Wither. [1913 Webster] 2. To make… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Plain — ist der Name folgender Personen: Honest John Plain Maria Plain sowie des Adelsgeschlechts: Grafen von Plain Plain ist ein Ortsname: Plain (Wisconsin) Diese Seite ist eine …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Plain — Plain, adv. In a plain manner; plainly. To speak short and pleyn. Chaucer. To tell you plain. Shak. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English


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