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sim·​mer ˈsi-mər How to pronounce simmer (audio)
simmered; simmering ˈsi-mə-riŋ How to pronounce simmer (audio)

intransitive verb

: to stew gently below or just at the boiling point
: to be in a state of incipient development : ferment
ideas simmering in the back of my mind
: to be in inward turmoil : seethe

transitive verb

: to cook slowly in a liquid just below the boiling point


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: the state of simmering

Examples of simmer in a Sentence

Verb Simmer the stew for 40 minutes or until the sauce has thickened. The chicken was simmered in a cream sauce. The dispute simmered for years before any progress was made. It's a debate that has simmered for 30 years and is likely to continue. Long-simmering tensions between the two groups eventually sparked violence. Noun Bring the mixture to a simmer.
Recent Examples on the Web
Across South Asia and its diaspora, dal — which refers to both the legumes and the finished dish — is inherently linked to comfort, whether simmered with coconut milk, sweetened with a little jaggery or topped with crisp curry leaves. Priya Krishna, New York Times, 28 Mar. 2024 Meanwhile, back home, old fights are still simmering. Sandra Dallas, The Denver Post, 26 Mar. 2024 But something weird and violent was simmering out of sight. Peter Guest, WIRED, 26 Mar. 2024 England avoided direct involvement, but the nation simmered with internal religious tension. Kerry J. Byrne Fox News, Fox News, 24 Mar. 2024 Let the mixture simmer for five minutes before setting it aside. Southern Living Test Kitchen, Southern Living, 30 Mar. 2024 Let simmer until the soup is thick and flavorful, adding more salt if needed, 15 to 25 minutes. Melissa Clark, San Diego Union-Tribune, 27 Mar. 2024 Drop them into a pot of simmering chicken noodle or tomato soup. Ellie Krieger, Washington Post, 27 Mar. 2024 The mixture can be stored once overnight: Place it in an airtight jar or container and refrigerate, then boil and simmer again the next day. 06 of 13 Homemade Laundry Detergent and Rinse Aid Skip expensive detergents and save money with these simple laundry recipes. Caitlin Sole, Better Homes & Gardens, 20 Mar. 2024
Turn the heat to high, bring the soup to a simmer, add the pieces of asparagus (reserving the tips), and then lower the heat and partially cover the pot. Katie Workman, San Diego Union-Tribune, 3 Apr. 2024 Pour in the reserved cooking liquid, bring to a simmer and cover. Susan Selasky, Detroit Free Press, 15 Mar. 2024 And Ed Pierson witnessed firsthand the simmer building to a boil. Shawn Tully, Fortune, 22 Feb. 2024 Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer, cover and cook until the rice has absorbed all the liquid, about 25 minutes. Cindy Dampier, Charlotte Observer, 31 Jan. 2024 The levelheaded Lerman tends to stay at a relaxed simmer. Thomas Floyd, Washington Post, 29 Mar. 2024 Finish cooking sauce: Meanwhile, bring remaining Marsala mixture to a simmer over medium. Southern Living Test Kitchen, Southern Living, 22 Mar. 2024 While the soup simmers, combine the ricotta and Parmesan in a medium bowl. Christina Morales, San Diego Union-Tribune, 20 Mar. 2024 Segarra’s voice has soft edges but a hard center, befitting songs in which outrage and pain simmer beneath the pastoral. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, 23 Feb. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'simmer.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



alteration of English dialect simper, from Middle English simperen, of imitative origin

First Known Use


1637, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1


1758, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of simmer was in 1637

Dictionary Entries Near simmer

Cite this Entry

“Simmer.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


simmered; simmering
: to stew gently below or just at the boiling point
simmer noun

More from Merriam-Webster on simmer

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