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PLAGUE, v.t. [plāg; Sp. plagar; W. placaw; It. piagare; G. plagen; Dan. plager; Sw. plåga; from the noun.]

  1. To infest with disease, calamity or natural evil of any kind. Thus were they plagued / And worn with famine. – Milton.
  2. To vex; to tease; to harass; to trouble; to embarrass; a very general and indefinite signification. If her nature be so, / Then she will plague the man that loves her most. – Spenser.


Abounding with plagues; infected with plagues.


Free from plagues or the plague.

PLAGU'I-LY, adv.

Vexatiously; in a manner to vex, harass or embarrass; greatly; horribly. [In vulgar use.] – Swift. Dryden.


Vexatious; troublesome; tormenting. [Vulgar.] – Hudibras.

PLAICE, or PLAISE, n. [Fr. plie; Sp. platija; G. platteise; Dan. plat-fisk, flat-fish; from plat, flat.]

A fish of the genus Pleuronectes, growing to the size of eight or ten pounds or more. This fish is more flat and square than the halibut.

PLAID, or PLAD, n. [qu. W. plaid, a partition; diversity of colors being often named from dividing.]

A striped or variegated cloth worn by the highlanders in Scotland. It is a narrow woolen stuff worn round the waist or on the shoulders, reaching to the knees, and in cold weather to the feet. It is worn by both sexes. – Pennant.

PLAIN, a. [Fr. plain; It. piano; Sp. plano, llano; Port. plano; from L. planus; G. and Sw. plan; D. plein; Sw. Dan. D. and G. plan, a plan or scheme; W. plan, a plane, a plantation, a shoot or cion, a ray of light, whence plant, children, issue; pleiniaw, to radiate; plenig, radiant, splendid, whence ysplan, clear, bright, splendid, and ysplander, L. splendor. The Gr. πλαναω, to wander, is from the same root. Here we have decisive evidence, that plain, plan, plant, and splendor, are from the same radix. See Plant. Class Ln, No. 4, 6, 7.]

  1. Smooth; even; level; flat; without elevations and depressions; not rough; as, plain ground or land; a plain surface. In this sense, in philosophical writings, it is written plane.
  2. Open; clear. Our troops beat an army in plain fight and open field. – Felton.
  3. Void of ornament; simple; as, a plain dress. Plain without pomp, and rich without a show. – Dryden.
  4. Artless; simple; unlearned; without disguise, cunning or affectation; without refinement; as, men of the plainer sort. – Gen. xxv. Bacon. Plain, but pious Christians. Hammond.
  5. Artless; simple; unaffected; unembellished; as, a plain tale or narration.
  6. Honestly undisguised; open; frank; sincere; unreserved. I will tell you the plain truth. Give me leave to be plain with you. – Bacon.
  7. Mere; bare; as, a plain knave or fool. – Shak. Pope.
  8. Evident to the understanding; clear; manifest; not obscure; as, plain words or language; a plain difference; a plain argument. It is plain in the history, that Esau was never subject to Jacob. – Locke.
  9. Not much varied by modulations; as, a plain song or tune.
  10. Not high seasoned; not rich; not luxuriously dressed; as, a plain diet.
  11. Not ornamented with figures; as, plain muslin.
  12. Not dyed.
  13. Not difficult; not embarrassing; as, a plain case in law.
  14. Easily seen or discovered; not obscure or difficult to be found; as, a plain road or path. Our course is very plain. – Ps. xxvii. A plain or plane figure, in geometry, is a uniform surface, from every point of whose perimeter right lines may be drawn to every other point in the same. – Encyc. A plain figure, in geometry, is a surface in which, if any two points are taken, the straight line which joins them lies wholly in that surface. A plain angle, is one contained under two lines or surfaces, in contradistinction to a solid angle. – Encyc. A horizontal plain is parallel to the horizon. An inclined plain is any plain inclined to the horizon, by whatever angle.

PLAIN, adv.

  1. Not obscurely; in a manner to be easily understood.
  2. Distinctly; articulately; as, to speak plain. – Mark vii.
  3. With simplicity; artlessly; bluntly.

PLAIN, n. [Ir. cluain; W. llan; Fr. plaine. See the adjective.]

  1. Level land; usually, an open field with an even surface, or a surface little varied by inequalities; as, all the plain of Jordan. – Gen. xiii.
  2. Field of battle. – Arbuthnot.

PLAIN, v.i. [Fr. plaindre; L. plango.]

To lament or wail. [Not used.] [See Complain.] – Spenser.

PLAIN, v.t.

To level; to make plain or even on the surface. – Hayward.

PLAIN-DEAL'ING, a. [plain and deal.]

Dealing or communicating with frankness and sincerity; honest; open; speaking and acting without art; as, a plain-dealing man. – Shak. L'Estrange.


A speaking or communicating with openness and sincerity; management without art, stratagem or disguise; sincerity. – Dryden.


Having a sincere heart; communicating without art, reserve or hypocrisy; of a frank disposition. – Milton.


Frankness of disposition; sincerity. – Halleywell.

PLAIN'LY, adv.

  1. With a level surface. [Little used.]
  2. Without cunning or disguise.
  3. Without ornament or artificial embellishment; as, to be plainly clad.
  4. Frankly; honestly; sincerely; as, deal plainly with me. – Pope.
  5. In earnest; fairly. – Clarendon.
  6. In a manner to be easily seen or comprehended. Thou shalt write on the stones all the words of this law very plainly. – Deut. xxvii.
  7. Evidently; clearly; not obscurely. The doctrines of grace are plainly taught in the Scriptures.


  1. Levelness; evenness of surface.
  2. Want of ornament; want of artificial show. So modest plainness sets off sprightly wit. – Pope.
  3. Openness; rough, blunt or unrefined frankness. Your plainness and your shortness please me well. – Shak.
  4. Artlessness; simplicity; candor; as, unthinking plainness. – Dryden.
  5. Clearness; openness; sincerity. Seeing then we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech. – 2 Cor. iii.


The plain, unvaried chant of churches; so called in contradistinction from the prick-song, or variegated music sung by note. – Shak.


Speaking with plain, unreserved sincerity. – Dryden.

PLAINT, n. [Fr. plainte, from plaindre, to lament, from L. plango, to strike, to beat, to lament, whence complaint; Gr. πλησσω, πληττω, to strike, from the root πληγω, disused, whence πληγη, a stroke, L. plaga, Eng. plague; Goth. flekan, to lament; Sp. plañir, from the Latin. The primary sense is to strike, that is, to drive, or thrust, applied to the hand or to the voice; or the sense of complaint and lamentation is from beating the breast, as in violent grief; Sw. plagga, to beat.]

  1. Lamentation; complaint; audible expression of sorrow. From inward grief / His bursting passion into plaints thus pour'd. – Milton.
  2. Complaint; representation made of injury or wrong done. There are three just grounds of war with Spain; one of plaints; two upon defense. – Bacon.
  3. In law, a private memorial tendered to a court, in which the person sets forth his cause of action. – Blackstone.
  4. In law, a complaint; a formal accusation exhibited by a private person against an offender for a breach of law or a public offense. – Laws of N. York and Conn.


Complaining; expressing sorrow with an audible voice; as, my plaintful tongue. – Sidney.

PLAINT'IF, or PLAINT'IFF, n. [Fr. plaintif, mournful, making complaint.]

In law, the person who commences a suit before a tribunal, for the recovery of a claim; opposed to defendant. [Prior uses this word as an adjective, in the French sense, for plaintive, but the use is not authorized. The second f is as improperly added to this word, as it would be to brief or relief.]

PLAINT'IVE, a. [Fr. plaintif.]

  1. Lamenting; complaining; expressive of sorrow; as, a plaintive sound or song. – Dryden.
  2. Complaining; expressing sorrow or grief; repining. To soothe the sorrows of her plaintive son. – Dryden.


In a manner expressive of grief.