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 experts said the move marked a significant escalation in Iran's simmering confrontation with the West. Erin Cunningham, Anchorage Daily News, "Iran takes major step away from nuclear deal by activating sensitive uranium-enrichment facility," 5 Nov. 2019 Open the tea bags and empty the contents into the egg mixture or the simmering cream. CBS News, "The Dish: Chef Whitney Otawka of Greyfield Inn," 2 Nov. 2019 Bradley’s politics and personality have cost her plenty of jobs—making her both an unlikely Morning Show hire and an ideal foil for Alex, whose poised veneer conceals years of simmering rage. Judy Berman, Time, "The Morning Show," 28 Oct. 2019 Whisk into the simmering liquid and cook, stirring constantly, until lightly thickened, about 2 minutes., "Colombian Braised Beef (Posta Negra)," 23 Oct. 2019 In Saint-Martin, a long simmering discontent — loaded with racial and class tension — is on the verge of boiling over. Kirk Semple, New York Times, "After a Caribbean Hurricane, the Battle Is Where, or Even Whether, to Rebuild," 7 Oct. 2019 Meanwhile, simmer syrup until reduced by half, 10 to 12 minutes. Ashley Rodriguez, Woman's Day, "Easiest Pear Tart with Maple "Caramel"," 27 Sep. 2019 Get our daily newsletter The attack appears to be the most dangerous escalation yet by the Islamic republic in its simmering conflict with America and its allies. The Economist, "A strike on Saudi Arabia moves a shadowy conflict closer to open war," 19 Sep. 2019 Despite these cheerful examples, the same imagery could be evoked to suggest a simmering class tension. Ben Zimmer, The Atlantic, "How ‘People Who Shower After Work’ Became a Political Talking Point," 31 July 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Stir in the broth, bring to a simmer, and cook until most of the moisture has evaporated, 3 to 5 minutes. Christopher Kimball,, "Recipes: Four perfect tacos featuring fish, turkey, or mojo pork," 4 Sep. 2019 Bring to a simmer, then lower the heat to low and cover the pan. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Melissa Copeland’s veggie-rich Mexican rice: a meal in itself," 3 Sep. 2019 Add a little of the broth and bring to a simmer, heating the lobster through. Joanne Kempinger Demski, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Lobster Fest indulges shellfish lovers for 3 days, while local restaurants feed the craving all year," 7 Aug. 2019 Tarantino, has lowered his typically feverish temperature to a warming simmer, bathing us in the golden California light and the movie-star glow of his leading men, Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt. Jake Coyle, Detroit Free Press, "Quentin Tarantino's 'Once Upon a Time' is a radiant Hollywood fable," 25 July 2019 If working on a stove-top, bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. Genevieve Ko,, "Kitchen Comforts: Teriyaki is the best BBQ sauce that isn’t barbecue at all," 5 June 2019 Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the meatballs are tender and cooked through, about 15 minutes. Washington Post, "We’d eat these garlicky, spiced meatballs and chickpeas on anything," 17 Sep. 2019 Pour in the milk, and bring the chowder to a simmer. Los Angeles Times, "A summer squash soup with a pedigree," 24 Aug. 2019 As the broccoli and sausage simmer in the bubbling water, a masher incorporates the two ingredients, kind of making them one, a process that reaches its fruition with the addition of butter and a shower of finely grated parm. Adam Rapoport, Bon Appétit, "Broccoli Bolognese Is an Anywhere, Anytime Pasta," 17 Sep. 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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Statistics for simmer

Last Updated

17 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for simmer

The first known use of simmer was in 1653

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More Definitions for simmer


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).


to engage in dissolute behavior

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