plain vanilla(redirected from plain-vanilla)
Also found in: Dictionary, Financial.
Related to plain-vanilla: Plain vanilla swap
A reference to vanilla being considered an ordinary or unexciting flavor. Often hyphenated if used before a noun.
1. Completely basic, simple, or straightforward, lacking embellishments, adornments, special features, etc. I still use the plain-vanilla version of the software. I don't want to pay for all the extra features they've been advertising. No thanks, I don't need any luxury features on the car. The plain vanilla model will be fine.
2. Uninteresting, unexciting, or unadventurous. I've always thought guided tours were a pretty plain-vanilla way to experience a new city. He's got good job security and a nice house, so it's really no wonder he's so plain vanilla—why take risks when you've got all you want in life?
3. Referring to a simple or standard derivative financial instrument, such as an option or a swap. We'll want to lock in some plain-vanilla forex options so that we don't get caught out by any unanticipated exchange rate drops.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
Lacking embellishment or fancy features, unadorned; by extension, plain and simple. This item, dating from the second half of the 1900s, transfers the simplicity of a plain vanilla cake to other concerns, ranging from stock options to computer software, legal contracts, and so on. For example, “She bought the cheapest car she could find, a plain vanilla model.” See also less is more.
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer