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 oversimplify (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 Experts and analysts say the comments from Biden's climate envoy oversimplify the task at hand and provoke fossil fuel constituencies whose buy-in the administration needs. Josh Siegel, Washington Examiner, "Why Kerry's claim on solar and wind jobs misses the mark," 2 Feb. 2021 Cancer analogies also have limits that oversimplify the blight of white nationalism. C. Brandon Ogbunu, Wired, "White Nationalism Is Far Worse Than a 'Disease'," 26 Jan. 2021 To say that the inauguration festivities were just symbols is to oversimplify. Angela Watercutter, Wired, "The Strange Theater of Watching the Inauguration on Social Media," 20 Jan. 2021 To oversimplify, Impactworld is a part of the larger SRI–stakeholder ecosystem. Andrew Stuttaford, National Review, "Counting the Shareholder Out: When the Ruling Class Changes the Rules," 11 Dec. 2020 Not to oversimplify things, but Burton always wanted to play for a prominent Division I program. Matthew Vantryon, The Indianapolis Star, "Fishers girls basketball star Katie Burton commits to St. John's," 16 Aug. 2020 To oversimplify the reasoning, that figure attests to the power of the Ferrari name. Alexander George, Popular Mechanics, "The Ferrari F8 is the Example for Modern, Mid-Engine Supercars," 7 Aug. 2020 Jules’ advice to home cooks: Don’t oversimplify the addition of peppers when cooking. Mary Bergin, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "'Embracing the wider world': Spices sell quickly as coronavirus encourages home cooks," 8 July 2020 Hayes said, coyly oversimplifying the work that goes into digitally crafting an interior. Jordan Guinn, SFChronicle.com, "Interest in virtual staging, renovation rises during COVID-19 outbreak," 3 May 2020

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

9 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Oversimplify.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/oversimplify. Accessed 2 Mar. 2021.

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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 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.

More from Merriam-Webster on oversimplify

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for oversimplify

Nglish: Translation of oversimplify for Spanish Speakers

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