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

All throughout Friday, news reports simmered that the Northern Lights would creep south this past weekend. Andrew Moseman, Popular Mechanics, "Keep on Chasing the Northern Lights," 25 Mar. 2019 Each story in this collection simmers with a righteous fury at the state of the world. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "Our favorite science fiction and fantasy books of 2018," 21 Dec. 2018 But anyway, lots of simmering anxiety at the company, suffice to say, and the New York Times article about Andy Rubin was a major reckoning moment for the culture building upon all this anxiety. Shirin Ghaffary, Recode, "After 20,000 workers walked out, Google said it got the message. The workers disagree.," 21 Nov. 2018 The air simmered with escalating violence, impatient protestors, hardened social classes and new social movements. Marissa Vonesh, Smithsonian, "How the Fourth of July Was Celebrated (and Protested) in 1968," 3 July 2018 Two centuries later, the question of whether train and tracks should be operated by the same firm still simmers across Europe. The Economist, "European state rail firms face scrappy new competitors," 28 June 2018 Like Sacramento, community tensions have been simmering following a high-profile police shooting. NBC News, "Police at Pride? Gay cops, LGBTQ activists struggle to see eye-to-eye," 23 June 2018 Pain simmered beneath the surface of my days, barely hidden from the world. Simone Gorrindo, The Cut, "The Mysterious Medical Condition That Defined All My Relationships," 21 June 2018 Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat and simmer very gently for 10 minutes. Melissa Clark, charlotteobserver, "Not strictly salad, these dips make it close enough," 12 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

In a heatproof bowl that fits snugly over pot of boiling water, off heat, beat together eggs, cream and fish sauce until well incorporated and no streaks remain. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer, and set bowl on top. Kitty Greenwald, WSJ, "The Way You’ll Be Making Scrambled Eggs From Now On," 11 Jan. 2019 Reduce to a simmer and cook until all the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Daniel Neman, charlotteobserver, "Cooking from scratch faces off with semi-homemade | Charlotte Observer," 20 Mar. 2018 Bring to a simmer, turn down heat, and cook at a gentle bubble for 45 minutes. Brittany Martin, Los Angeles Magazine, "Celebrate a Very L.A. Passover with This “Pho-tza Ball” Soup," 26 Mar. 2018 Let simmer for 30 minutes, and then remove pot from burner. Madison Alcedo, Country Living, "How to Make Your Own Natural Egg Dye With Items From Your Pantry," 20 Feb. 2019 Add fennel and artichoke, and bring to a slow simmer for about 12 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. 2. Catherine M. Allchin, The Seattle Times, "After an epic ecological comeback, the local, versatile rockfish has become a restaurant rock star," 27 June 2018 Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat and simmer very gently for 10 minutes. Melissa Clark, charlotteobserver, "Not strictly salad, these dips make it close enough," 12 June 2018 Bring to a simmer, skim the scum, then simmer for 30 minutes. Tara Duggan, San Francisco Chronicle, "Recipe: Quick Vegetable Stock," 1 June 2018 Cook until bubbling; reduce heat to a simmer for one hour. Ac Shilton, Outside Online, "Stop Wasting Money on Prepackaged Backpacking Food," 1 May 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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Learn More about simmer

Dictionary Entries near simmer





simmer down



Statistics for simmer

Last Updated

21 Apr 2019

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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).


an act or instance of returning to life

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