over·sim·pli·fy | \ˌō-vər-ˈsim-plə-ˌfī \
oversimplified; oversimplifying; oversimplifies

Definition of oversimplify 

transitive verb

: to simplify to such an extent as to bring about distortion, misunderstanding, or error

intransitive verb

: to engage in undue or extreme simplification

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Other Words from oversimplify

oversimplification \ˌō-vər-ˌsim-plə-fə-ˈkā-shən \ noun

Examples of oversimplify in a Sentence

The article oversimplifies the problem. She tends to oversimplify things. We must resist the temptation to oversimplify.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Lopez Obrador, like Trump, is ambivalent, suspicious even, of institutions, tends to oversimplify issues, and has an ego the size of Sonora. Kate Linthicum, latimes.com, "With Mexico presidential election, another step in global populism — but this time from the left," 2 July 2018 Mackey said Thursday some media outlets oversimplified the rescue efforts and the situation was far more complex. Washington Post, "Plane passenger dilemma: Protect child or try to save victim," 19 Apr. 2018 López Obrador, like Trump, is ambivalent, suspicious even, of institutions, tends to oversimplify issues, and has an ego the size of Sonora. Kate Linthicum, The Seattle Times, "Mexico’s move toward populism comes from the left," 2 July 2018 But coverage also oversimplified the mechanics of these projects, which offer some degree of corporate deniability. Ingrid Burrington, The Atlantic, "Who Gets to Live in Silicon Valley?," 25 June 2018 Treating it as something that can be adjusted easily for everyone vastly oversimplifies both our views on weight management and the real impact that weight has on disease risk. Sarah Jacoby, SELF, "The Science on Weight and Health," 26 June 2018 Harvard officials claim that the report was incomplete and the analysis oversimplified. The Economist, "A lawsuit reveals how peculiar Harvard’s definition of merit is," 21 June 2018 Shayne Chammavanijakul, a student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, felt let down by the way some magazines depicted Asian cuisines — framed as alien, styled with visual clichés and oversimplified. Tejal Rao, New York Times, "A New Generation of Food Magazines Thinks Small, and in Ink," 27 Mar. 2018 To oversimplify, a democracy typically declines like this. The Economist, "After decades of triumph, democracy is losing ground," 14 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'oversimplify.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of oversimplify

1897, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

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Statistics for oversimplify

Last Updated

25 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for oversimplify

The first known use of oversimplify was in 1897

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More Definitions for oversimplify



English Language Learners Definition of oversimplify

: to describe (something) in a way that does not include all the facts and details and that causes misunderstanding


over·sim·pli·fy | \ˌō-vər-ˈsim-plə-ˌfī \
oversimplified; oversimplifying

Kids Definition of oversimplify

: to cause (something) to seem simpler than it is He oversimplified a complicated problem.

Comments on oversimplify

What made you want to look up oversimplify? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a state of commotion or excitement

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