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 Still, dozens of interviews with students, faculty members, and administrators indicated the sit-in had grown out of long-simmering tensions at a university that has often seemed to be pulled in two directions., "In the spring, some black students reported being attacked and targeted with slurs near the Syracuse campus. Others reported several instances of professors at a campus in Madrid using a racist slur. Then came the November incidents.," 28 Nov. 2019 Long-simmering resentment among African Americans around the criminalization of cocaine addiction in the 1980s and ’90s fuels an ongoing mistrust of law enforcement and public health efforts. Laura Ungar,, "Cincinnati and Ohio at epicenter of spiking fatal ODs from fentanyl-laced cocaine," 26 Nov. 2019 Her secret: Browning the giblets (minus the liver, which will make your gravy taste bitter) and the turkey wings before making a long-simmering broth. oregonlive, "13 Thanksgiving gravy recipes, including ones to make-ahead, that use pan drippings," 24 Nov. 2019 The protests have exposed long-simmering resentment at Iran's influence in the country, with protesters targeting Shiite political parties and militias with close ties to Tehran. Arkansas Online, "Pence works to reassure Kurdish allies in surprise Iraq trip," 23 Nov. 2019 Long-simmering resentment among African Americans around the criminalization of cocaine addiction in the 1980s and ’90s fuels an ongoing mistrust of law enforcement and public health efforts. NBC News, "Death toll from tainted cocaine rising across the country," 17 Nov. 2019 Last month’s prison sentencing of former separatist leaders set off an outburst of street violence in Catalonia that raised concerns over whether the long-simmering conflict was spinning out of control. Raphael Minder, New York Times, "Spain’s Far Right Gains in Election," 10 Nov. 2019 Taiwan is also involved in a long-simmering territorial conflict in the busy waters, a key waterway for global commerce. Washington Post, "US, China spar at Southeast Asian regional summit," 4 Nov. 2019 Underlying all the election drama is a long-simmering debate in the city over how much debt the municipal government has accrued. Gilbert Garcia,, "Floresville City Council rocks the vote — in the worst way," 2 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Cover, reduce to medium-low, and cook at a gentle simmer until cooked through, 12 to 15 minutes., "Cashew-Coconut Meatballs with Creamy Spiced Tomato Sauce," 7 Nov. 2019 Add tomato sauce and bay leaves, bring to a gentle simmer, then reduce heat to low and cook for 5 minutes. Marta Darby, Woman's Day, "Cuban-Style Arroz con Maíz," 22 Oct. 2019 Reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook the potatoes until almost done, about 12 minutes. Los Angeles Times, "The Laotian fish curry fit for royalty," 1 Oct. 2019 Bring to a low simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for 7 to 10 minutes to thicken the mixture. Nneka M. Okona,, "New cookbook 'Jubilee’ pays tribute to 200 years of African American culinarians and recipes," 11 Nov. 2019 Jetboil ditched its plastic gas knob for a wire handle similar to what’s on the MSR and Snowpeak options, offering better simmer control, and it’s given the pot solid handles instead of the Flash’s nylon grip. Graham Averill, Outside Online, "6 of Our Favorite Backpacking Stove Systems," 6 Nov. 2019 Bring to a simmer and cook, whisking occasionally to dissolve sugar, until mixture thickens into a light syrup, 2 to 3 minutes. Ericka Sanchez, Woman's Day, "Glazed Sweet Potatoes," 22 Oct. 2019 Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, reduce the heat to medium-low, and gently simmer until the glaze has reduced by about half and is syrupy, 4 to 6 minutes. NBC News, "Soy-honey grilled salmon with umami roasted vegetables," 20 Oct. 2019 Bring mixture to a simmer and then remove from heat. Trevor Fraser,, "The District in Sanford liquefies dessert with Pumpkin Pie Martini," 17 Oct. 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

1 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Simmer.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 6 December 2019.

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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).


very cautious or careful

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