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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
  • I stopped at the station and brought along a couple of plain-clothes men, in case there was any trouble.

    Jacob's Ladder E. Phillips Oppenheim
  • “There are half a dozen plain-clothes men in the audience,” he said.

    The Crimson Tide Robert W. Chambers
  • It was signed by the chief of the Baltimore plain-clothes force.

    The Winning Clue James Hay, Jr.
  • The other two I guessed as plain-clothes men from Vancouver.

  • Please have plain-clothes men pick up Ellen in Washington Square.

    The Mind Master Arthur J. Burks
  • "Well, yes, sir," admitted the plain-clothes man with reluctance.

    Steve and the Steam Engine Sara Ware Bassett
  • If the plain-clothes man was willing to take the drink, all well and good, but if he refused--but he did not refuse.

    Nedra George Barr McCutcheon
  • He was the same man who had identified her to Spofford, the plain-clothes man.

    Find the Woman Arthur Somers Roche
  • Drive on, Lennard, until you can spot a plain-clothes man, then give him the signal to follow us.

    Cleek of Scotland Yard Thomas W. Hanshew
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

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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