plain-clothes

plain clothes

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


Origin:
1815–25

plain-clothes, adjective
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
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
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Etymonline
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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