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

The simmering confrontation between Iran and Britain has centered on the Iranian supertanker detained in Gibraltar on July 4. Karla Adam,, "Britain says it thwarted Iranian vessels from interfering with its tanker in Strait of Hormuz," 11 July 2019 Spike Lee's third movie remains his masterpiece, a sobering look at racial tensions simmering under the surface, police abuse and the empathy exhibited toward its characters, which still feels relevant 30 years later. Brian Lowry, CNN, "Essential movies of the '80s, from 'Raging Bull' to 'Do the Right Thing'," 9 July 2019 The tour’s reception and the record’s artistic shortcomings — along with some simmering creative dissatisfactions with the Heartbreakers — prompted Petty’s reevaluate his music and persona. Michael Washburn, Longreads, "Tom Petty’s Problematic Album Southern Accents," 9 July 2019 Hoehnke's words reflected the pain that simmered below the surface for everyone on the trip. Chelsey Lewis, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "First Descents is like cancer camp for young adults, taking survivors on free climbing, kayaking and surfing trips," 3 July 2019 Add cream, bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer until cream is reduced by one-third and mixture has thickened, about 15 minutes. The Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen, Good Housekeeping, "Roasted Corn Pudding," 1 July 2019 Read this novel for a spirited take on the rage that simmers just below the surface of today’s woman in the corner office, the cubicle or the break room. Emily Gray Tedrowe, USA TODAY, "Women rebel against bad boss in Chandler Baker's #MeToo book, 'Whisper Network'," 1 July 2019 With frustration over homelessness, panhandling and public drinking simmering in Midtown Anchorage, some of the district’s business owners are in disagreement over the city’s response to the problem. Madeline Mcgee, Anchorage Daily News, "Midtown business owners table anti-homelessness resolution," 27 June 2019 Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 25 minutes or until rice is tender. Kimberly Wilson, Essence, "This Black Bean and Rice Stuffed Peppers Recipe Will Leave Your Mouth Watering," 27 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Raise the heat slightly, and bring the liquid to a boil; then, reduce the heat to maintain a brisk simmer. Wolfgang Puck, Twin Cities, "Wolfgang Puck: Try this quick, light dish when it’s just too hot to cook outdoors," 10 July 2019 Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally to keep from burning on the bottom, until the potatoes are soft, about 20 minutes. CBS News, "The Dish: Luke Holden of Luke's Lobster shares his signature recipes," 6 July 2019 Set the skillet with the garlic mixture over medium-high, stir in 1½ cups of the reserved pasta water, and bring to a simmer. Christopher Kimball,, "Recipes: Three light and easy pasta dishes for summer," 2 July 2019 Add the rice and 1 teaspoon of salt, turn the heat down to maintain a gentle simmer, cover, and cook until the grains are tender, 40-50 minutes., "Recipe: Wild Rice with Sauteed Grapes," 26 June 2019 Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer, cover, and cook for 45 minutes, stirring halfway through to make sure the rice is not sticking. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "Gwyneth Paltrow’s Guide to a Healthy Sunday Brunch," 1 Feb. 2019 Lower the heat to maintain a simmer and set a timer for 12 minutes. Sharon Franke, Good Housekeeping, "The Best Way to Make Hard-Boiled Eggs," 27 Mar. 2018 Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Nick Kindelsperger, charlotteobserver, "Re-creating a classic Chinese dish not as simple as it seems | Charlotte Observer," 13 Mar. 2018 Bring the pot to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer., "Recipe: Mustang Grape Jelly," 26 June 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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Dictionary Entries near simmer





simmer down



Statistics for simmer

Last Updated

14 Jul 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

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food or victuals

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