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words of one syllable pl (plural only)

  1. (idiomatic, usually preceded by in) Simple, clear, straightforward language; blunt language.
    • 1894, John Kendrick Bangs, "A Midnight Visitor" in The Water Ghost and Others:
      I am at present engaged in preparing a vest-pocket edition of the philosophical works of Schopenhauer in words of one syllable.
    • 1914, Samuel Hopkins Adams, The Clarion, ch. 24:
      So I explained in words of one syllable that I went there to pick edelweiss from the fire escapes.
    • 1915, John Galsworthy, The Freelands, ch. 22:
      Felix propounded the story of the arrest, so far as might be, in words of one syllable.
    • 1972 Dec. 27, Alden Whitman, "Obituary: Harry S. Truman, Decisive President," New York Times (retrieved 21 Sep 2012):
      The President used "words of one syllable" to convey his insistence that Poland be "free and independent".
    • 2003 Nov. 19, Richard Corliss, "That Old Feeling: The Show at the Casino," Time:
      Or, in words of one syllable, it's Cirque's sex show.