Elaborate vs Plain - What's the difference?

elaborate | plain |

As adjectives the difference between elaborate and plain

is that elaborate is highly complex, detailed, or sophisticated while plain is .

As verbs the difference between elaborate and plain

is that elaborate is (used with'' on ''when used with an object ) to give further detail or explanation (about) while plain is to lament, bewail or plain can be (obsolete|transitive) to plane or level; to make plain or even on the surface.

As an adverb plain is

(colloquial) simply.

As a noun plain is

(rare|poetic) a lamentation or plain can be an expanse of land with relatively low relief.

Other Comparisons: What's the difference?




(en adjective)
  • Highly complex, detailed, or sophisticated.
  • :
  • Intricate, fancy, flashy, or showy.
  • :
  • *
  • *:The house was a big elaborate limestone affair, evidently new. Winter sunshine sparkled on lace-hung casement, on glass marquise, and the burnished bronze foliations of grille and door.
  • Verb

  • (used with'' on ''when used with an object ) To give further detail or explanation (about).
  • What do you mean you didn't come home last night? Would you care to elaborate ?
    Could you elaborate on the plot for your novel for me?



    Etymology 1

    From (etyl) pleyn, playn, (etyl) plain, plein, from (etyl) .


  • * Bible, (w) xl. 4
  • The crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain .
  • Simple.
  • # Ordinary; lacking adornment or ornamentation; unembellished.
  • #* {{quote-magazine, year=2013, month=September-October, author=(Henry Petroski)
  • , magazine=(American Scientist), title= The Evolution of Eyeglasses , passage=The ability of a segment of a glass sphere to magnify whatever is placed before it was known around the year 1000, when the spherical segment was called a reading stone, essentially what today we might term a frameless magnifying glass or plain glass paperweight.}}
  • # Of just one colour; lacking a pattern.
  • # Simple in habits or qualities; unsophisticated, not exceptional, ordinary.
  • #* (Henry Hammond) (1605-1660)
  • plain yet pious Christians
  • #* (Abraham Lincoln) (1809-1865)
  • the plain people
  • # (label) Having only few ingredients, or no additional ingredients or seasonings; not elaborate, without toppings or extras.
  • # (label) Containing no extended or nonprinting characters (especially in plain text).
  • Obvious.
  • # Evident to one's senses or reason; manifest, clear, unmistakable.
  • #* 1843 , (Thomas Carlyle), '', book 2, ch. XV, ''Practical — Devotional
  • In fact, by excommunication or persuasion, by impetuosity of driving or adroitness in leading, , it is now becoming plain everywhere, is a man that generally remains master at last.
  • # Downright; total, unmistakable (as intensifier).
  • Open.
  • # Honest and without deception; candid, open; blunt.
  • #* (William Shakespeare) (1564-1616)
  • an honest mind, and plain
  • # Clear; unencumbered; equal; fair.
  • #* Felton
  • Our troops beat an army in plain fight.
  • Not unusually beautiful; unattractive.
  • Synonyms
    * no-frills * normal * ordinary * simple * unadorned * unseasoned * See also
    * bells and whistles * decorative * exotic * fancy * ornate
    Derived terms
    * plain and simple * plain as a pikestaff * plain as the nose on one's face * plain chocolate * plain clothes * plain-dealing * plain film * plain flour * plain-hearted * plain Jane * plain-laid * plain line * plain paper * plain sailing * plain song/plainsong * plain-spoken * plain text * plain-vanilla * plain weave * plain-winged * plainly * plainness


  • (colloquial) Simply
  • It was just plain stupid.
    I plain forgot.

    Etymology 2

    From (etyl) plainer, pleiner, variant of (etyl) and (etyl) pleindre, plaindre, from (etyl) plangere, present active infinitive of .

    Alternative forms

    * plein


    (en noun)
  • (rare, poetic) A lamentation.
  • * 1815 , Sir , The Lady of the Isles , Canto IV, part IX
  • The warrior-threat, the infant's plain ,
    The mother's screams, were heard in vain;


    (en verb)
  • To lament, bewail.
  • to plain a loss
  • * Bishop Joseph Hall
  • Thy mother could thee for thy cradle set / Her husband's rusty iron corselet; / Whose jargling sound might rock her babe to rest, / That never plain' d of his uneasy nest.
  • * , More Poems , XXV, lines 5-9
  • Then came I crying, and to-day,
    With heavier cause to plain ,
    Depart I into death away,
    Not to be born again.

    Etymology 3

    From (etyl) plain, from (etyl) .


    (wikipedia plain) (en noun)
  • An expanse of land with relatively low relief.
  • * Milton
  • Him the Ammonite / Worshipped in Rabba and her watery plain .
  • * 1961 , J. A. Philip. Mimesis in the ''Sophistês'' of Plato . In: Proceedings and Transactions of the American Philological Association 92. p. 467.
  • For Plato the life of the philosopher is a life of struggle towards the goal of knowledge, towards “searching the heavens and measuring the plains , in all places seeking the nature of everything as a whole”
  • A battlefield.
  • (Arbuthnot)
  • * Shakespeare
  • Lead forth my soldiers to the plain .
  • (obsolete) A .
  • Synonyms
    * flatlands * high plain * plateau * prairie * steppe
    * cliff * gorge * mountain * vale
    Derived terms
    * abyssal plain * alluvial plain * flood plain/floodplain * gibber plain * Great Plains * peneplain * Plains * plain wanderer * salt plain * the rain in Spain falls mainly in the plain
    See also
    * grassland * meadow


    (en verb)
  • (obsolete) To plane or level; to make plain or even on the surface.
  • * Wither
  • We would rake Europe rather, plain the East.
  • (obsolete) To make plain or manifest; to explain.
  • * Shakespeare
  • What's dumb in show, I'll plain in speech.




    * English degree adverbs ----