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penny plain

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Definition of penny plain in English:

adjective

British
Plain and simple: a penny plain version that takes away some of the character from the piece
More example sentences
  • West saw the potential of the new craze and responded by producing sheets of characters, which he sold at ‘a penny plain and twopenny coloured’: ‘juvenile drama’ was born.
  • Some chapters in this new collection are penny plain, like the folksy title essay which seems to be aimed at softening or humanising the famously macho caste of philosophers.
  • If the tinsel print was of the ‘penny plain’ variety, the hobbyist took the portrait sheet home and painted in his own colors.

Origin

mid 19th century: with reference to prints of characters sold for toy theatres, costing one penny for black-and-white ones, and two pennies for coloured ones.

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