To do something plainly means to do it either in a very simple way or in an obvious way. You might dress plainly when you're just hanging around the house, but your flair for fashion will be plainly visible when you get dressed up for a party.

If you're plainly asking your mom for money, it's clear to her what you're doing. But if you live plainly, it means you do things in a simple, non-luxurious way. You can also speak plainly, which either means "using simple words," or "bluntly." Certain religious groups, including Quakers, Amish, and Mennonites, have long been associated with the words plain and plainly because they live, speak, and dress so simply.

Definitions of plainly
  1. adverb
    in a simple manner; without extravagance or embellishment
    “she was dressed plainly
    synonyms: simply
  2. adverb
    unmistakably ('plain' is often used informally for 'plainly')
    “You are plainly wrong”
    synonyms: apparently, evidently, manifestly, obviously, patently, plain
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