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plain clothes

or plainclothes

plural noun
clothing other than one's uniform, especially civilian clothes worn on duty by a police officer.
Origin of plain clothes
Related forms
plain-clothes, plainclothes, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for plain clothes
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • "Never mind, bring him along with the others," a man in plain clothes said in tones of authority.

    Condemned as a Nihilist George Alfred Henty
  • Behind him came Cassidy and two other detectives in plain clothes.

    Within the Law Marvin Dana
  • Persons in plain clothes have acted as advanced scouts to the German cavalry when advancing.

  • On one of these nights the Captain of the Precinct was present in plain clothes.

    The Underdog F. Hopkinson Smith
  • There is a plain clothes policeman keeping guard over them now—your diamonds are amongst the lot.

    The Slave of Silence Fred M. White
  • Another agent of police, in plain clothes, entered and saluted.

    The White Lie William Le Queux
  • He was in plain clothes; the first time since her childhood that she had ever seen him out of uniform.

    Moscow Fred Whishaw
British Dictionary definitions for plain clothes

plain clothes

plural noun
  1. ordinary clothes, as distinguished from uniform, as worn by a police detective on duty
  2. (as modifier): a plain-clothes policeman
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for plain clothes

"ordinary dress" (as opposed to military uniform), 1822; of police detectives, it is attested from 1842. Also plainclothes.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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