simple

adjective
sim·​ple | \ ˈsim-pəl How to pronounce simple (audio) \
simpler\ ˈsim-​p(ə-​)lər How to pronounce simpler (audio) \; simplest\ ˈsim-​p(ə-​)ləst How to pronounce simplest (audio) \

Definition of simple

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : free from guile : innocent
2a : free from vanity : modest
b : free from ostentation or display a simple outfit
3 : of humble origin or modest position a simple farmer
4a : lacking in knowledge or expertise a simple amateur of the arts
b : lacking in intelligence : stupid
c : not socially or culturally sophisticated : naive also : credulous
5a : sheer, unmixed simple honesty
b : free of secondary complications a simple vitamin deficiency
c(1) : having only one main clause and no subordinate clauses a simple sentence
(2) of a subject or predicate : having no modifiers, complements, or objects
d : constituting a basic element : fundamental
e : not made up of many like units a simple eye
6 : free from elaboration or figuration simple harmony
7a(1) : not subdivided into branches or leaflets a simple stem a simple leaf
(2) : consisting of a single carpel
(3) : developing from a single ovary a simple fruit
b : controlled by a single gene simple inherited characters
8 : not limited or restricted : unconditional a simple obligation
9 : readily understood or performed simple directions the adjustment was simple to make
10 of a statistical hypothesis : specifying exact values for one or more statistical parameters — compare composite sense 3

simple

noun

Definition of simple (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : a person of humble birth : commoner thought very little of anybody, simples or gentry— Virginia Woolf
b(1) : a rude or credulous person : ignoramus
(2) : simpleton
2a : a medicinal plant
b : a vegetable drug having only one ingredient
3 : one component of a complex specifically : an unanalyzable constituent

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Other Words from simple

Adjective

simpleness \ ˈsim-​pəl-​nəs How to pronounce simpleness (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for simple

Adjective

simple, foolish, silly, fatuous, asinine mean actually or apparently deficient in intelligence. simple implies a degree of intelligence inadequate to cope with anything complex or involving mental effort. considered people simple who had trouble with computers foolish implies the character of being or seeming unable to use judgment, discretion, or good sense. foolish stunts silly suggests failure to act as a rational being especially by ridiculous behavior. the silly antics of revelers fatuous implies foolishness, inanity, and disregard of reality. fatuous conspiracy theories asinine suggests utter and contemptible failure to use normal rationality or perception. an asinine plot

synonyms see in addition easy

Examples of simple in a Sentence

Adjective

The solution to the problem was relatively simple. The answer is really quite simple. There are three simple steps to follow. The camera is simple to use. Don't go into too much detail in the report. Just keep it simple and to the point. The melody is very simple. I'm a simple farmer just trying to make a living. He enjoys the simple pleasure of spending time with his wife and kids after work. Relaxing on the beach and watching the sunset is one of life's simple pleasures.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Its boss, Anutin Charnvirakul, says its conditions for working with Palang Pracharat are simple: that the government enact Bhumjaithai’s policies. The Economist, "The leader of the Thai junta tortures the rules to remain in power," 8 June 2019 The daily commute for Amanda Miles used to be so simple. Kristi Tanner, Freep.com, "FREE PRESS INVESTIGATION Thank heavens: They finally got their bridge fixed; many communities still suffer," 7 June 2019 The way that the Pride Landmarker feature works is simple. Morgan Hines, USA TODAY, "Snapchat's Pride-themed lenses turn famous buildings into icons of Pride Month," 6 June 2019 The answer to the anguished pleas — even a bad turn of events might feel better if the umpires can be blamed — is pretty simple: The rule wasn’t in effect in that situation. Bob Ford, https://www.inquirer.com, "The tragic, but correct, application for the Phillies of the infield fly rule | Bob Ford," 6 June 2019 That’s why Amazon is keeping it simple here, with a suction arm meant to stick to flat surfaces, as opposed to an analog of the human hand. Matt Simon, WIRED, "Inside the Amazon Warehouse Where Humans and Machines Become One," 5 June 2019 Keep it simple, groovy rhythms, clean, big harmonies, cool melody and with a positive lyrical content. Ed Masley, azcentral, "Local music picks for Phoenix: Flotsam and Jetsam, Wade Cota, Joey DeFrancesco, DaDadoh," 5 June 2019 Democrats who pushed the new tax through the Legislature on party-line votes wanted to keep the 0.57 percent tax as simple as possible, with few exemptions or special rates for particular industries or businesses. Hillary Borrud | The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive.com, "Oregon lawmakers want to exempt farmers from new business tax," 3 June 2019 Aside from her natural humility, there's a dermatological reason why Vergara keeps things simple. Leah Prinzivalli, Allure, "Sofia Vergara's Favorite Drugstore Skin-Care Products Include $11 Makeup Remover and $14 Cleanser," 31 May 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The answer is simple: NASA didn’t offer it to them. Alex Stuckey, Houston Chronicle, "Flying without a safety net: Early Apollo astronauts were not eligible for life insurance policies while in space," 4 June 2019 Below, Bon breaks down the seven elements behind her simple, yet singular style. Vogue, "A Swiss-Parisian Singer Shares the 7 Secrets to Her Discreet-Chic Style," 19 Mar. 2019 The key is to keep your bedding simple is to make sure every piece has at least one function besides just decoration. Cathy Rubin, Philly.com, "Ask Jennifer Adams: What purpose does a pillow sham serve," 26 Mar. 2018 The reason is simple: Not enough money from the tax cuts has trickled down to employees. Alexia Fernández Campbell, Vox, "The GOP tax bill only gave workers 2 cents more per hour in bonuses," 18 Dec. 2018 Pure Cycles is on a mission to get back to those roots—and is making purchasing a bike simple and affordable again. Popular Mechanics, "Get Ready to Ride This Spring with These Affordable Bikes," 23 Jan. 2019 The district has made registration simple with a new, online pre-registration process. Jennie Key, Cincinnati.com, "Northwest tweaks attendance areas for its new elementary schools," 2 July 2018 Take the idea one step further, as the authors of Canal House Cooks Every Daydo, and make a rich simple syrup by combining two parts sugar to one part water. Alex Van Buren, Health.com, "Why Basil Is So Good for You—Plus 14 Ways to Use More of It All Summer Long," 14 May 2018 Still, investors have been reluctant to put more money into gas drillers, and the reason is simple: Gas has been cheap for years and doesn’t look primed to go up soon. Christopher M. Matthews, WSJ, "Side Effect of Rising Oil Drilling: Indigestion for Gas Frackers," 13 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'simple.' 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 simple

Adjective

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for simple

Adjective

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin simplus, alteration of Latin simplic-, simplex single, having one ingredient, plain, from sem-, sim- one + -plic-, -plex -fold — more at same, -fold

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Statistics for simple

Last Updated

10 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for simple

The first known use of simple was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for simple

simple

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of simple

: not hard to understand or do
: having few parts : not complex or fancy
: not special or unusual

simple

adjective
sim·​ple | \ ˈsim-pəl How to pronounce simple (audio) \
simpler; simplest

Kids Definition of simple

1 : not hard to understand or solve a simple task
2 : easy entry 1 sense 1, straightforward a simple explanation
3 : lacking in education, experience, or intelligence The queen was really a simple soul and always … had done nothing except state the overly obvious.— Kate DiCamillo, The Tale of Despereaux
4 : not complex or fancy She wore simple clothing.
6 : not rich or important simple folk
7 : without qualification : sheer the simple truth

simple

adjective
sim·​ple | \ ˈsim-pəl How to pronounce simple (audio) \
simpler\ -​p(ə-​)lər How to pronounce simpler (audio) \; simplest\ -​p(ə-​)ləst How to pronounce simplest (audio) \

Medical Definition of simple

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : free from complexity or difficulty: as
a : easily treated or cured a simple vitamin deficiency
b : controlled by a single gene simple inherited characters
2 : of, relating to, or being an epithelium in which the cells are arranged in a single layer

simple

noun

Medical Definition of simple (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a medicinal plant
2 : a vegetable drug having only one ingredient

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simple

adjective
sim·​ple

Legal Definition of simple

1 : oral or written but not under seal or of record
2 : not extreme, aggravated, or complicated simple kidnapping
3 : having no limitations or restrictions — see also fee simple

Other Words from simple

simply adverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on simple

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with simple

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for simple

Spanish Central: Translation of simple

Nglish: Translation of simple for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of simple for Arabic Speakers

Comments on simple

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