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

Definition of simmer

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to stew gently below or just at the boiling point
2a : to be in a state of incipient development : ferment ideas simmering in the back of my mind
b : to be in inward turmoil : seethe

transitive verb

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



Definition of simmer (Entry 2 of 2)

: the state of simmering

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Synonyms for simmer

Synonyms: Verb

boil, coddle, parboil, poach, stew

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Examples of simmer in a Sentence


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.


Bring the mixture to a simmer.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Add the wine and simmer for 3 minutes or until reduced by half. Lisa Zwirn,, "Recipe: Cook the Sardinian pasta fregola in a tomato-based broth with clams," 10 June 2019 Add wine and simmer until nearly evaporated, about 2 minutes. Woman's Day Kitchen, Woman's Day, "Rigatoni with Chicken and Broccoli Bolognese," 29 Apr. 2019 Add the honey and simmer until the sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. Zoe Ruffner, Vogue, "Sakara Brings Healthy Eating Home With Their New Made-for-Instagram Cookbook," 19 Mar. 2019 Add wine and simmer until mostly evaporated, 2 to 3 minutes. Taylor Murray, Country Living, "Potato Gnocchi with Pork Ragù," 18 Mar. 2019 Add wine and simmer until alcohol cooks off, about 2 minutes. Kitty Greenwald, WSJ, "The Most Warming Winter Stew," 16 Nov. 2018 Add the vinegar and sugar and simmer for 5 minutes. San Antonio Express-News, "Recipe: Spicy Corn Relish," 11 July 2018 Put the shells into a pan, add chicken stock (and water, if necessary) to cover, and simmer for about 10 minutes. Daniel Neman, sacbee, "Spanish food? Sí, por favor!," 29 May 2018 Add 8 fresh lasagna sheets, sliced into strips, 1 bay leaf, 1 tablespoon tomato paste, 1 quart hot beef stock and ¾ cup Roasted Cherry Tomato Sauce* and simmer for 10 minutes until the pasta is tender and the beef cooked through. Polly Campbell,, "Get the most out of your food with these tips," 11 Jan. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The moment the water starts to boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook the rice at a steady simmer for an additional two minutes. Genevieve Ko,, "Master Class: Michelin-starred n/naka chefs on how to make the perfect onigiri," 13 June 2019 Return pork to pot, cover, transfer to oven and cook, turning after 2 hours (adjust oven temp to keep the liquid at a slow simmer), until meat is tender, 4 hours. The Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen, Good Housekeeping, "Maple-Glazed Five-Spice Pork," 9 Oct. 2018 Bring the liquid up to a boil and immediately lower it to a lively simmer. Rochelle Bilow, Bon Appetit, "How to Cook Mussels Like Some Kind of Professional Mussel-Cooker," 9 Apr. 2018 Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 to 40 minutes, or until thick. Sarah Fritsche, San Francisco Chronicle, "Recipe: Simple Congee," 27 Mar. 2018 Ample water, kept at a brisk simmer, mean the balls will cook more evenly. Karoline Boehm Goodnick,, "Recipe: How to make fluffy, light matzo balls," 19 Mar. 2018 Reduce the heat to medium-low to bring the liquid to a lively simmer. Chris Ross,, "Shiitake Barley Soup ladles up homemade comfort," 12 Mar. 2018 Bring to a boil, then, lower heat to a bare simmer. Sunset, "Composed Mediterranean Salad," 22 Jan. 2018 Bring to a simmer and cook until peas are just tender and bright green, about 2 minutes if fresh, 30 seconds if frozen. Woman's Day Kitchen, Woman's Day, "Spring Carrot Penne with Bacon and Peas," 29 Apr. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'simmer.' 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 simmer


1653, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1


1809, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for simmer


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

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Learn More about simmer

Dictionary Entries near simmer





simmer down



Statistics for simmer

Last Updated

16 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for simmer

The first known use of simmer was in 1653

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English Language Learners Definition of simmer

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to cook (something) so that it is almost boiling for a certain period of time
: to be filled with a strong feeling that is difficult to control or hide
: to be felt strongly by someone without being directly shown or expressed



English Language Learners Definition of simmer (Entry 2 of 2)

: a state of simmering : a way of cooking that is close to boiling


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

Kids Definition of simmer

1 : to cook gently at or just below the boiling point
2 : to be on the point of bursting out with violence or anger

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More from Merriam-Webster on simmer

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with simmer

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for simmer

Spanish Central: Translation of simmer

Nglish: Translation of simmer for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of simmer for Arabic Speakers

Comments on simmer

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


to move with exaggerated bouncy motions

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