over·​sim·​pli·​fy | \ ˌō-vər-ˈsim-plə-ˌfī How to pronounce oversimplify (audio) \
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 How to pronounce oversimplification (audio) \ 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 To grossly oversimplify all this, the knot is just rope fastened together; the hitch is a rope fastened to an object; and a lashing is a rope fastening multiple objects together. Tim Macwelch, Outdoor Life, "Essential Knots: How to Tie the 20 Knots You Need to Know," 2 Apr. 2019 But to blame California’s wildfire problem on climate change alone is oversimplifying matters. Wired, "Kincade Fire: The Age of Flames Is Consuming California," 24 Oct. 2019 That message is oversimplified and terribly misleading. Dina Fine Maron, Scientific American, "Can You Lose Weight with Exercise Alone?," 11 Aug. 2015 Ushered in with the establishment in the 1990s of functional brain imaging, neurotrash describes the use of brain-scan data to oversimplify or mislead audiences about almost every aspect of human behavior. Karen Sandstrom, Washington Post, "In the debate on gender and the brain, sorting evidence from errors," 20 Sep. 2019 That said, projecting where the Wild will end up is very easy right now, albeit oversimplified, as Tuesday’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs was the halfway point of this season. Dane Mizutani, Twin Cities, "Wild close out first half with ‘disheartening’ loss to Maple Leafs," 31 Dec. 2019 To oversimplify, Democrats read the New York Times; Republicans watch Fox News. The Economist, "You really can fool some of the people, all of the time," 2 Nov. 2019 Burioni's broadsides polarize and oversimplify a complicated discussion, adds Fabio Turone, a science writer and director of the Center for Ethics in Science and Journalism. Douglas Starr, Science | AAAS, "This Italian scientist has become a celebrity by fighting vaccine skeptics," 2 Jan. 2020 All economists know that their models oversimplify—that is what models are for. The Economist, "When the meaning is in the method," 21 Nov. 2019

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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Time Traveler for oversimplify

Time Traveler

The first known use of oversimplify was in 1897

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Statistics for oversimplify

Last Updated

23 Apr 2020

Cite this Entry

“Oversimplify.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/oversimplify. Accessed 2 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for oversimplify


How to pronounce oversimplify (audio)

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 How to pronounce oversimplify (audio) \
oversimplified; oversimplifying

Kids Definition of oversimplify

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on oversimplify

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for oversimplify

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with oversimplify

Nglish: Translation of oversimplify for Spanish Speakers

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