sim·mer | \ ˈsi-mər \
simmered; simmering\ˈsi-mə-riŋ, 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

The bold and clarion singing of Ms. Acuña, a Chilean vocalist based in New York, doesn’t line up exactly with the sound of Abbey Lincoln, who addressed spiritual and political matters in a rough, simmering tone. New York Times, "13 Pop, Rock and Jazz Concerts to Check Out in N.Y.C. This Weekend," 5 July 2018 His dispassionate satire disguises only a simmering rage. Greg Kot,, "Why Childish Gambino and Kanye West rise above the shouting about race and racism," 9 May 2018 David Axelrod, formerly the chief strategist for President Barack Obama, took issue earlier this month with the Democrats’ simmering desire to remove President Donald Trump from office. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "How Not to Remove a President," 16 Apr. 2018 Another cloud in the horizon: Maggie Rhee (Lauren Cohan) and her simmering vengeance against Negan. Josh Wigler, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Walking Dead' Team Previews Season 9 Evolution: It Takes a "Quantum Leap Forward"," 16 Apr. 2018 While the 1950-53 war on the Korean Peninsula and the simmering conflict since then have been a power play of ideology and big-power maneuvers, the real issue is the civil divide of the Korean people. The Christian Science Monitor, "The art of listening in a Trump-Kim summit," 9 Mar. 2018 NBC News reported that the president’s decision to slap on tariffs this week was made amidst his simmering anger over other issues and in the center of an already tumultuous period at the White House. Kailani Koenig, NBC News, "Commerce Sec. Ross: ‘No reason’ to think Trump will reverse tariff plan," 4 Mar. 2018 Cover and simmer until the vegetables and meat are all done. Daniel Neman, sacbee, "Artistry, flavor blends are marks of Moroccan," 10 July 2018 But Trump certainly poured that poison into a stew that has been simmering in this country for nearly three decades. Dan Rodricks,, "In Annapolis, a perfect breeze to heal and unify," 30 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

In the long wake of 9/11, anti-immigrant fever ran at a steady, low simmer. Dan Rodricks,, "The bad economics of Trump's bad immigration policy," 19 June 2018 Whisking, add ketchup, then lower heat to a low simmer. San Antonio Express-News, "Recipe: Jake’s Mistake Sauce," 4 June 2018 Rather than erupting immediately, the tensions remain on a low simmer, gradually propelling this romantic triangle into mystery-thriller territory. Justin Chang,, "Director Lee Chang-dong and actor Steven Yeun on the profound mysteries of 'Burning'," 27 May 2018 On medium heat, bring to a low simmer and cook for about 2 minutes until chicken is cooked through. Nicole Sours Larson,, "Gourmet food on a budget," 23 Apr. 2018 Bring to a low simmer and cook gently 15 minutes, stirring often. Kristine M. Kierzek, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "CSAs in flux: Farm subscription models take on new flavors," 5 Mar. 2018 Place the chicken carcass and 2 quarts of cold water in a large stockpot and bring to a low simmer. Sarah Fritsche, San Francisco Chronicle, "Recipe: Brandon Jew’s Whole Chicken Wontons in Broth," 1 Mar. 2018 Fill a large skillet halfway with water and heat to a low simmer. Liz Biro, Indianapolis Star, "Indianapolis couple releases a new vegetarian cookbook," 13 Feb. 2018 The shutdown began after an unusually tranquil day inside the Capitol, where visible tensions remained at a low simmer as various parties undertook quiet talks to discuss ways to avoid the shutdown. Anchorage Daily News, "Congress returns to work as lawmakers press to keep shutdown short-lived," 20 Jan. 2018

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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Dictionary Entries near simmer





simmer down



Statistics for simmer

Last Updated

8 Sep 2018

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 \
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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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 make amends

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