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 Place the bowl over, but not touching, the simmering water and whisk until just warm to the touch and sugar is completely dissolved, about 3 minutes. Woman's Day Kitchen, Woman's Day, "S'mores Ice Cream Pie," 11 June 2018 The implicit bid of the book is that exploring myopic white male monologuists, simmering with rage in the Midwest in the late 1990s, might shed light on today’s America. Jordan Kisner, The Atlantic, "Boy, Uninterrupted," 10 Sep. 2019 The rest are simmered in broth with carrots, onions, garlic and rosemary. Ellie Krieger, The Denver Post, "A quick and flavorful chickpea stew for all your busy nights ahead," 9 Sep. 2019 Beneath the surge of optimism simmer larger, deeper, and more complicated questions: While Detroit may be ‘reviving,’ who is really being saved? NBC News, "Detroit may be going through a revival, but how does this impact education?," 6 Sep. 2019 Still, the structure adds variation to what otherwise would have been two episodes of simmering, glum tension and little else. Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Limetown': TV Review | TIFF 2019," 6 Sep. 2019 Among the Georgian selections, chakapuli, lamb chops simmered in white wine with plenty of tarragon, gets a twangy boost from sour plum sauce. Los Angeles Times, "Review: Cheesy khachapuri and Georgian soup dumplings await at Glendale’s Havlabar," 5 Sep. 2019 Lower the heat and let the stew gently simmer, covered, for 8 to 10 minutes. Simran Singh, The Mercury News, "Quick Cook: An easy, spicy Chickpea and Chorizo Stew for fall," 5 Sep. 2019 The Cold War simmered when the groundwork for the internet was barely emerging and televisions only had a few channels. Wired, "Cold War Analogies are Warping Tech Policy," 5 Sep. 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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Dictionary Entries near simmer





simmer down



Statistics for simmer

Last Updated

3 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 spread as a report or rumor

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