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 The divide between developed and developing countries, a simmering reality for decades, seems more vast than ever. Washington Post, "At U.N. climate conference, the divide widens between the countries that pollute and those that suffer from it," 12 Dec. 2019 There were failed attempts at independence then, before simmering discontent erupted into a nine-year civil war that left thousands of people dead. Jessie Yeung And Angus Watson, CNN, "Bougainville independence vote delivers emphatic demand to become world's newest nation," 11 Dec. 2019 The simmering feud between the teams will be put on hold for a couple of months. Dana Gauruder, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Pistons' Dwane Casey cringes at 'dirty' play claim from Giannis Antetokounmpo," 6 Dec. 2019 Drain them and then simmer in a pan of water (enough water to cover the beans by a couple of inches) with the carrot and celery (this helps to flavor the broth) until the beans are cooked through., "Recipe: Anna’s Cresc’tajat Pasta with Beans," 4 Dec. 2019 Bring to a boil, then simmer for 1 hour, with the cover ajar. Bill St. John, The Denver Post, "Get cooking: Science closing in on number of genes in the apple genome," 4 Dec. 2019 The total value of his LVMH holdings was $104 billion on Tuesday, down from $108 billion at the end of Friday as trade tensions between France and the U.S. began simmering over the weekend. Sarah Min, CBS News, "Trump's French tariffs cost LVMH owner $1.6 billion in a day," 3 Dec. 2019 Nestled in their parked blue Pontiac Catalina, Queen and Slim’s simmering chemistry comes to a boil. Jasmine Grant, Essence, "'Queen & Slim' Is The Black Love Story We Needed," 3 Dec. 2019 Self-sufficiency, simmering aggression, and a certain kind of isolationist bravado are all part of her thing. John Adamian,, "Coi Leray bringing her icy confidence and charm to the State House," 29 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

15 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Simmer.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 15 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).


delight or enjoyment

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