Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

plainly - definition and synonyms


What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.



The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

adverb plainly pronunciation in British English /ˈpleɪnli/
  1. 1
    in a way that is easy to see, hear, notice etc

    Her voice is trembling – I can hear it quite plainly.

    The barracks were plainly visible on the hillside.

  2. 2
    in a direct and honest way, without trying to hide anything

    Speak plainly and no one will misunderstand you.

  3. 3
    if something is plainly true, wrong, necessary etc, it is obvious that it is true, wrong etc

    Something was plainly wrong.

    Synonyms and related words
  4. 4
    without a lot of decoration

    She was always plainly dressed, in a way that gave her an air of elegance.


sea lion

in an online conversation, repeatedly asking a person questions which suggest that you are interested in what they are talking about, but are actually intended to annoy them

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary


an electric skateboard

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play