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Denotation vs. Connotation

plain-vanilla

[pleyn-vuh-nil-uh] /ˈpleɪn vəˈnɪl ə/
adjective, Informal.
1.
having no embellishments, extra equipment, elaborate packaging, etc.; plain; simple; down-to-earth:
I want a plain-vanilla car without a lot of chrome trim.
Origin of plain-vanilla
in allusion to vanilla ice cream, taken to be the most basic flavor
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for plain vanilla
Historical Examples
  • “I think I shall have plain vanilla,” added Aunt Betty, laughing.

    Dorothy's Tour Evelyn Raymond
  • "A plain vanilla—please rush it along," commanded the stranger.

    The Daughter of Anderson Crow George Barr McCutcheon
  • For ice cream have a boat of plain vanilla filled with luscious fresh strawberries.

    Dinners and Luncheons Paul Pierce
Slang definitions & phrases for plain vanilla

plain vanilla

adjective phrase

Unadorned; simple; basic: more lushly appointed variants of plain vanilla family cars are due to arrive

[1970s+; fr vanilla ice cream, considered less fancy than other flavors]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Difficulty index for plain-vanilla

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for plain

7
10
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