Plain Jane

Meaning

What does Plain Jane mean?

Plain Jane is the female equivalent of an Average Joe – unremarkable in looks, behavior and every other aspect of a personality.

It is the slightly archaic predecessor of the label Basic.

Origin

What's the origin of Plain Jane?

Although the exact origin of “Plain Jane” is not known, it likely comes from the 1896 novel of Joel Chandler Harris, titled “Sister Jane”, which features the rhyming phrase as a description of the titular character.

It started spreading in the early 20th century and by 1926, it was featured in the title of the novel “Plain Jane and Pretty Betty” by May Hollis Barton, further solidifying the popularity of the expression.

Spread & Usage

How did Plain Jane spread?

The second half of the 20th century saw further spread for “Plain Jane”, although it experienced a recession in popularity in the 1990’s.

This, however, was mitigated in 2017, when A$AP Ferg released his song “Plain Jane” on June 13th.

Although the original song didn’t become that much of a hit, its remix, released in December the same year, featuring Nicki Minaj became quite popular.

More interesting stuff