plain clothes

clothing other than one's uniform, especially civilian clothes worn on duty by a police officer.
Also, plainclothes.


plain-clothes, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
plain clothes
pl n
a.  ordinary clothes, as distinguished from uniform, as worn by a police detective on duty
 b.  (as modifier): a plain-clothes policeman

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

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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Example sentences
Two officers were sent out each night to patrol the streets in plain clothes.
There is scarcely anywhere that you can not fittingly go in plain clothes.
The wearing of plain clothes became a fashion as well as a virtue.
Dere was a whole army of plain clothes bulls around.
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