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Prairie vs. Plain: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Published on February 12, 2024
Prairie is a grassland ecosystem in North America, often with tall grasses. Plain is a large, flat land area, not necessarily grass-covered, found worldwide.
Prairie vs. Plain

Key Differences

Prairies are North American grasslands with a mix of tall and short grasses, supporting diverse wildlife. Plains are vast, flat landscapes that can be grassy, desert, or agricultural lands, not limited to a specific ecosystem.
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Prairies are predominantly found in North America, especially in the U.S. and Canada. Plains occur globally, from the Great Plains in the U.S. to the Siberian Plains in Russia.
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Prairies are known for their tallgrass and mixed grass, thriving in a temperate climate. Plains may have varied vegetation, from sparse in desert plains to lush in fertile agricultural plains.
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Prairies are emblematic of the American Midwest, often associated with pioneers and Native American cultures. Plains have been crucial in human history, offering land for agriculture, settlements, and historic battles.
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Prairies have been largely converted for agriculture and urban development. Plains have been used for diverse purposes, from farming to resource extraction, depending on their location and terrain.
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Comparison Chart

Definition

A North American grassland.
A flat, extensive land area.
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Location

Mainly in the U.S. and Canada.
Found worldwide.
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Vegetation

Dominated by tall and mixed grasses.
Varies widely, from grasses to deserts.
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Cultural Association

Associated with the Midwest and Native American history.
Associated with agriculture and historical events.
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Climate

Generally temperate.
Can range from arid to temperate.
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Prairie and Plain Definitions

Prairie

An ecosystem with tall and short grasses.
Bison roamed freely across the prairie.
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Jan 20, 2024

Plain

Free from obstructions; open; clear
In plain view.
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Jan 16, 2024

Prairie

A grassland region in North America.
The prairie stretched out for miles, a sea of grass under the open sky.
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Jan 20, 2024

Plain

Obvious to the perception or mind; evident
Make one's intention plain.
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Jan 16, 2024

Prairie

A temperate North American grassland.
The pioneers traveled across the prairie in covered wagons.
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Plain

Not elaborate or complicated; simple
Plain food.
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Jan 16, 2024

Prairie

A natural habitat for diverse wildlife.
The prairie was alive with the songs of meadowlarks.
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Plain

Marked by little or no ornamentation or decoration
Plain garb.
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Prairie

An extensive flat or rolling area dominated by grasses, especially the grasslands that once covered much of central North America.
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Plain

Straightforward; frank or candid
Plain talk.
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Prairie

An extensive area of relatively flat grassland with few, if any, trees, especially in North America.
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Plain

Not pretentious; unaffected.
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Prairie

An extensive tract of level or rolling land, destitute of trees, covered with coarse grass, and usually characterized by a deep, fertile soil. They abound throughout the Mississippi valley, between the Alleghanies and the Rocky mountains.
From the forests and the prairies,From the great lakes of the northland.
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Plain

Lacking beauty or distinction
A plain face.
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Prairie

A meadow or tract of grass; especially, a so called natural meadow.
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Plain

Not mixed with other substances; pure
Plain water.
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Prairie

A treeless grassy plain
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Plain

Common in rank or station; average; ordinary
A plain man.
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Prairie

Often associated with the American Midwest.
She loved the vast openness of the Midwestern prairie.
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Jan 20, 2024

Plain

Not dyed, twilled, or patterned
A plain fabric.
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Jan 16, 2024

Plain

Sheer; utter; unqualified
Plain stupidity.
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Plain

(Archaic) Having no visible elevation or depression; flat; level.
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Plain

Often plains An extensive, level, usually treeless area of land.
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Plain

A broad level expanse, as a part of the sea floor or a lunar mare.
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Plain

Something free of ornamentation or extraneous matter.
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Plain

Clearly; simply
Plain stubborn.
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Plain

Flat, level.
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Plain

Simple, unaltered.
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Plain

Ordinary; lacking adornment or ornamentation; unembellished.
He was dressed simply in plain black clothes.
A plain tune
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Plain

Of just one colour; lacking a pattern.
A plain pink polycotton skirt
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Plain

Simple in habits or qualities; unsophisticated, not exceptional, ordinary.
They're just plain people like you or me.
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Plain

(of food) Having only few ingredients, or no additional ingredients or seasonings; not elaborate, without toppings or extras.
Would you like a poppy bagel or a plain bagel?
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Plain

(computing) Containing no extended or nonprinting characters (especially in plain text).
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Plain

Obvious.
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Plain

Evident to one's senses or reason; manifest, clear, unmistakable.
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Plain

Downright; total, unmistakable (as intensifier).
His answer was just plain nonsense.
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Plain

Open.
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Plain

Honest and without deception; candid, open; blunt.
Let me be plain with you: I don't like her.
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Plain

Clear; unencumbered; equal; fair.
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Plain

Not unusually beautiful; unattractive.
Throughout high school she worried that she had a rather plain face.
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Plain

(card games) Not a trump.
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Plain

(obsolete) Full, complete in number or extent.
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Plain

(colloquial) Simply.
It was just plain stupid.
I plain forgot.
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Plain

(archaic) Plainly; distinctly.
Tell me plain: do you love me or no?
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Plain

A lamentation.
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Plain

An expanse of land with relatively low relief, usually exclusive of forests, deserts, and wastelands.
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Plain

(archaic) field in reference to a battlefield.
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Plain

(obsolete) plane: a flat geometric field.
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Plain

To complain.
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Plain

To lament, bewail.
To plain a loss
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Plain

To level; to raze; to make plain or even on the surface.
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Plain

To make plain or manifest; to explain.
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Plain

To lament; to bewail; to complain.
We with piteous heart unto you pleyne.
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Plain

To lament; to mourn over; as, to plain a loss.
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Plain

To plane or level; to make plain or even on the surface.
We would rake Europe rather, plain the East.
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Plain

To make plain or manifest; to explain.
What's dumb in show, I'll plain in speech.
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Plain

Without elevations or depressions; flat; level; smooth; even. See Plane.
The crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain.
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Plain

Open; clear; unencumbered; equal; fair.
Our troops beat an army in plain fight.
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Plain

Not intricate or difficult; evident; manifest; obvious; clear; unmistakable.
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Plain

Void of extraneous beauty or ornament; without conspicious embellishment; not rich; simple.
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Plain

In a plain manner; plainly.
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Plain

Level land; usually, an open field or a broad stretch of land with an even surface, or a surface little varied by inequalities; as, the plain of Jordan; the American plains, or prairies.
Descending fro the mountain into playn.
Him the AmmoniteWorshiped in Rabba and her watery plain.
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Plain

A field of battle.
Lead forth my soldiers to the plain.
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Plain

Extensive tract of level open land;
They emerged from the woods onto a vast open plain
He longed for the fields of his youth
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Plain

A basic knitting stitch
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Plain

Express complaints, discontent, displeasure, or unhappiness;
My mother complains all day
She has a lot to kick about
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Plain

Clearly apparent or obvious to the mind or senses;
The effects of the drought are apparent to anyone who sees the parched fields
Evident hostility
Manifest disapproval
Patent advantages
Made his meaning plain
It is plain that he is no reactionary
In plain view
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Plain

Not elaborate or elaborated; simple;
Plain food
Stuck to the plain facts
A plain blue suit
A plain rectangular brick building
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Plain

Lacking patterns especially in color
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Plain

Not mixed with extraneous elements;
Plain water
Sheer wine
Not an unmixed blessing
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Plain

Free from any effort to soften to disguise;
The plain and unvarnished truth
The unvarnished candor of old people and children
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Plain

Lacking embellishment or ornamentation;
A plain hair style
Unembellished white walls
Functional architecture featuring stark unornamented concrete
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Plain

Lacking stylistic embellishment;
A literal description
Wrote good but plain prose
A plain unadorned account of the coronation
A forthright unembellished style
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Jan 16, 2024

Plain

Comprehensible to the general public;
Written for the popular press in plain nontechnical language
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Jan 16, 2024

Plain

Lacking in physical beauty or proportion;
A homely child
Several of the buildings were downright homely
A plain girl with a freckled face
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Plain

Unmistakably (`plain' is often used informally for `plainly');
The answer is obviously wrong
She was in bed and evidently in great pain
He was manifestly too important to leave off the guest list
It is all patently nonsense
She has apparently been living here for some time
I thought he owned the property, but apparently not
You are plainly wrong
He is plain stubborn
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Plain

A large, flat, unobstructed area of land.
The plain stretched to the horizon, a vast expanse of land.
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Jan 20, 2024

Plain

An area of land with minimal elevation changes.
They set up camp in the middle of the plain.
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Plain

Can be a grassland, desert, or cultivated land.
The plain was dotted with farms and small towns.
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Plain

Found in various parts of the world.
The Serengeti Plain is renowned for its wildlife.
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Plain

Often used for agriculture due to flat terrain.
The fertile plain was ideal for growing crops.
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Repeatedly Asked Queries

Are prairies only in North America?

Primarily, though similar grasslands exist elsewhere.
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Feb 12, 2024

What is a prairie?

A grassland ecosystem typically found in North America.
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Feb 12, 2024

What defines a plain?

A large, flat, or gently rolling area of land.
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What's the difference in vegetation between prairies and plains?

Prairies are primarily grasslands, while plains can have varied vegetation.
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Feb 12, 2024

Are plains good for livestock?

Yes, especially the grassy and fertile ones.
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How large can a prairie be?

They can cover thousands of square miles.
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Can plains be found in deserts?

Yes, plains can be in various environments, including deserts.
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Are all prairies protected lands?

Not all, but some are preserved as natural habitats.
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What wildlife is common in prairies?

Bison, prairie dogs, and many bird species.
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Are plains always dry?

No, plains can range from dry to very fertile.
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Feb 12, 2024

Can prairies be found in urban areas?

Urban development has encroached on many prairies, but some urban prairies exist.
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Feb 12, 2024

Can plains be flood-prone?

Yes, especially if they are near rivers.
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Do prairies have trees?

They're mostly grassland, but can have trees, especially near water.
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Is agriculture common on plains?

Yes, due to their flat terrain, many plains are used for farming.
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Do plains have a specific climate?

No, the climate of plains can vary widely.
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Do plains occur in high altitudes?

Plains can be at various altitudes, but are generally low-lying.
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How are prairies important for biodiversity?

They support a wide range of plant and animal species.
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Feb 12, 2024

Are there famous plains in literature or movies?

Yes, plains often feature in literature and films, symbolizing vastness and freedom.
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How have prairies affected American history?

They were crucial in the westward expansion and Native American cultures.
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What human activities are common in prairies?

Agriculture and urban development are common.
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Feb 12, 2024

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About Author
Shumaila Saeed
Written by
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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