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From Middle English playnly, pleinly, pleyneliche, equivalent to plain +‎ -ly.


  • IPA(key): /ˈpleɪnli/
  • Audio (US):(file)
  • Rhymes: -eɪnli



plainly (comparative plainlier or more plainly, superlative plainliest or most plainly)

  1. In a plain manner; simply; basically.
    She decorated the room plainly but neatly.
    • 1956 [1880], Johanna Spyri, Heidi, translation of original by Eileen Hall, page 95:
      'Tell me plainly what you think of my daughter's little companion.'
  2. Obviously; clearly.
    You will see that ours is plainly the better method.
    • 1897 December (indicated as 1898), Winston Churchill, chapter I, in The Celebrity: An Episode, New York, N.Y.: The Macmillan Company; London: Macmillan & Co., Ltd., →OCLC:
      The stories did not seem to me to touch life. They were plainly intended to have a bracing moral effect, and perhaps had this result for the people at whom they were aimed. They left me with the impression of a well-delivered stereopticon lecture, with characters about as life-like as the shadows on the screen, and whisking on and off, at the mercy of the operator.
    • 1932, Delos W. Lovelace, King Kong, published 1965, page 3:
      Plainly he was prepared to bark out an interminable succession of charges against the Wanderer.