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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

When the report was leaked, the press highlighted Moynihan’s fiery rhetoric and oversimplified his complex argument. Joseph Dorman, WSJ, "The Odd Couple: Nixon and Moynihan," 25 Oct. 2018 Defining gender as a condition determined strictly by a person’s genitals is based on a notion that doctors and scientists abandoned long ago as oversimplified and often medically meaningless. Denise Grady, The Seattle Times, "Anatomy does not determine gender, experts say," 22 Oct. 2018 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

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.

See More

First Known Use of oversimplify

1897, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about oversimplify

Share oversimplify

Statistics for oversimplify

Last Updated

4 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for oversimplify

The first known use of oversimplify was in 1897

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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.

More from Merriam-Webster on oversimplify

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with oversimplify

Nglish: Translation of oversimplify for Spanish Speakers

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 soft lustrous wool fabric with mohair

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!