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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb But on the day of the shooting, his simmering anger erupted, and violence ensued. Kristi Nix, Houston Chronicle, "Katy love-triangle killer pleads guilty, sentenced to 16 years in prison," 10 Jan. 2020 Tensions have been simmering between Iran and the United States after the militia groups launched a series of attacks on U.S. assets in Iraq, including the death of an American defense contractor. Zachary Halaschak, Washington Examiner, "Reports of rockets fired at Green Zone in Baghdad," 8 Jan. 2020 As the conflict between the U.S. and Iran simmers, there is a mounting fear within Iraq that a conflict of another kind could take shape amid the upheaval: A terrorist comeback from the remnants from the Islamic State, or ISIS. Time, "Why Iraqis Are Worried About an Islamic State Resurgence After Soleimani's Death," 8 Jan. 2020 Lower them in the hot water and simmer for 10 minutes. Erin Booke, Dallas News, "Pasta Granny goals: 3 frugal recipes from our new favorite cookbook," 7 Jan. 2020 Tensions began simmering again after Trump unilaterally withdrew from a nuclear deal between Iran and several world powers in May 2018. NBC News, "Iran retaliates for attack on general by firing missiles at U.S. forces in Iraq," 7 Jan. 2020 To make Pomegranate-Lime Syrup: In small saucepan, combine ¾ cup each sugar and pomegranate juice and simmer, stirring once halfway through, until sugar dissolves, about 12 minutes. The Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen, Good Housekeeping, "Pom-Lime French 75," 6 Jan. 2020 Squid stuffed full of bread crumbs, parsley, garlic, olive oil and parmesan cheese is simmered in marinara sauce. Liz Biro, Indianapolis Star, "These are the most exciting Indianapolis restaurants opening in 2020," 31 Dec. 2019 Steamed mussels, clams and a quarter crab are plated along with pieces of octopus, shrimp, squid and scallops that have been simmered until tender then seared until crisp. Omar Mamoon,, "Is Tijuana Restaurant in Oakland the Best Old Restaurant in America?," 27 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Whisk into the simmering liquid and continue cooking at a simmer 4 minutes. Susan Selasky, Detroit Free Press, "Holiday beef roasts: 6 easy steps to get roast with the most," 20 Dec. 2019 If water is boiling too hard, bring heat down so water is at a soft, rolling simmer. Priscilla Totiyapungprasert, azcentral, "From thum kao poon to turkey: How past meets present at one family's Thanksgiving table," 27 Nov. 2019 The persistent threat of punishment for any dissent kept many tensions at a simmer, and now the pot is boiling over. The Washington Post, Twin Cities, "Other voices: Abiy earned the Nobel Peace award," 17 Oct. 2019 Cook at a simmer until fish is thoroughly cooked and flakes easily, 5 minutes per inch of height. Daniel Neman,, "How to make low-sodium dishes taste great," 16 Oct. 2019 Add all remaining ingredients, except pasta, and bring to boil, then reduce heat to a slow simmer., "Recipe: Low Country Ham and Pasta Soup," 9 Oct. 2019 Add back the pork pieces and the broth or water and cook the pork at a simmer for at least 2 hours, skimming off any grey foam or fat. Bill St. John, The Denver Post, "Here are three versions of posole with winter on its way," 18 Sep. 2019 Wearing an oven mitt, move the saucepan to the part of the grill that will keep the mixture at a steady simmer, either over the unheated part of the grill or between the heated and unheated parts. Genevieve Ko,, "Kitchen Comforts: Teriyaki is the best BBQ sauce that isn’t barbecue at all," 5 June 2019 Put the pot over medium-high heat and bring it to a simmer. Janelle Bitker,, "Recipe: Mourad’s Corona Beans With Tomato Sauce & Feta," 26 Dec. 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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Time Traveler for simmer

Time Traveler

The first known use of simmer was in 1653

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Statistics for simmer

Last Updated

13 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Simmer.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 20 January 2020.

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How to pronounce simmer (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for simmer

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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).


not to be intimidated or subdued

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