plain

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in plain English

In clear, straightforward, and uncomplicated English. Chronic atherosclerosis in the coronary arteries has stopped oxygen-rich blood from reaching the heart, leading to a myocardial infarction. In plain English, you've suffered a heart attack. I wish these software agreements would be written in plain English, rather than this legalese gobbledygook.
See also: English, plain

in plain view

In full, unrestricted view; visibly, openly, or publicly. I can't believe you go outside in plain view of the neighbors with your bathrobe open! Law enforcement spends so much time and resources going after petty criminals, while all these white-collar crooks on Wall Street are swindling people for millions in plain view!
See also: plain, view

plain sailing

Smooth, uninterrupted, and/or easy progress, movement, or development. Now that we've gotten that problem figured out, the project should be plain sailing from here on! We've got about a 13-hour road trip ahead of us, but it looks like plain sailing for most of it.
See also: plain, sailing

make plain

To explain something clearly or make something obvious. I told him that I was going call the cops if he didn't make plain his intentions.
See also: make, plain

plain Jane

A female who is not considered physically attractive by societal standards. Betty always felt like she was a plain Jane, so she was very surprised when the most handsome boy in school asked her to be his prom date.
See also: Jane, plain

*in plain language

 and *in plain English
Fig. in simple, clear, and straightforward language. (*Typically: be ~; put something [into] ~; say something ~; write something ~.) That's too confusing. Please say it again in plain English. Tell me again in plain language.
See also: language, plain

*plain as day

 and *plain as a pikestaff 
1. Cliché very plain and simple. (*Also: as ~.) Although his face was as plain as day, his smile made him look interesting and friendly. Fred: I have a suspicion that Marcia is upset with me. Alan: A suspicion? Come on, Fred, that's been plain as a pikestaff for quite some time! 2. and *plain as the nose On one's face Cliché clear and understandable. (*Also: as ~.) The lecture was as plain as day. No one had to ask questions. Jane: I don't understand why Professor Potter has been so friendly this week. Alan: It's plain as the nose on your face. He wants to be nominated for Professor of the Year.
See also: plain

pure and simple

 and plain and simple
absolutely; without further complication or elaboration. I told you what you must do, and you must do it, pure and simple. Will you kindly explain to me what it is, pure and simple, that I am expected to do? Just tell me plain and simple, do you intend to go or don't you?
See also: and, pure, simple

(as) plain as day

easy to see or understand The secret to our success is as plain as day - make a good plan and stick to it. I looked at the list and there, plain as day, was my name on the list of winners.
Opposite of: (as) clear as mud
See also: plain

pure and simple

plainly, and without having to say anything else They closed the museum because, pure and simple, it cost too much to run. No one talked about issues or referred to facts - it was just gossip, pure and simple.
Usage notes: sometimes used in the form purely and simply: It was purely and simply the most marvelous vacation.
See also: and, pure, simple

be as clear/plain as day

to be obvious or easy to see She's in love with him - it's as plain as day.
See also: clear

a plain Jane

a woman or girl who is not attractive If she'd been a plain Jane, she wouldn't have had all the attention.
See also: Jane, plain

be as plain as the nose on your face

  (old-fashioned)
to be very obvious There's no doubt that he's interested in her. It's as plain as the nose on your face.
See also: face, nose, on, plain

be plain sailing

to be very easy The roads were busy as we drove out of town but after that it was plain sailing all the way to the coast.
See be as clear as day
See also: plain, sailing

in plain English

In clear, straightforward language, as in The doctor's diagnosis was too technical; please tell us what he meant in plain English. [c. 1500] Also see in so many words.
See also: English, plain

plain as day

Also, plain as the nose on your face. Very obvious, quite clear, as in It's plain as day that they must sell their house before they can buy another, or It's plain as the nose on your face that she's lying. These similes have largely replaced the earlier plain as a packstaff or pikestaff, from the mid-1500s, alluding to the stick on which a peddler carried his wares over his shoulder. The first term, from the late 1800s, is probably a shortening of plain as the sun at midday; the variant dates from the late 1600s.
See also: plain

plain sailing

Easy going; straightforward, unobstructed progress. For example, The first few months were difficult, but I think it's plain sailing from here on. Alluding to navigating waters free of hazards, such as rocks or other obstructions, this term was transferred to other activities in the early 1800s.
See also: plain, sailing

pure and simple

No more and no less, plainly so, as in This so-called educational video is really a game, pure and simple. This expression is very nearly redundant, since pure and simple here mean "plain" and "unadorned." Oscar Wilde played on it in The Importance of Being Earnest (1895): "The truth is rarely pure and never simple." [Second half of 1800s]
See also: and, pure, simple

pure and simple

mod. basically; essentially. Bart is a crook, pure and simple.
See also: and, pure, simple