simple

1 of 2

adjective

sim·​ple ˈsim-pəl How to pronounce simple (audio)
1
: free from guile : innocent
2
a
: free from vanity : modest
b
: free from ostentation or display
a simple outfit
3
: of humble origin or modest position
a simple farmer
4
a
: 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
5
a
: 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
7
a(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
simpleness noun

simple

2 of 2

noun

1
a
: a person of humble birth : commoner
thought very little of anybody, simples or gentryVirginia Woolf
b(1)
: a rude or credulous person : ignoramus
(2)
2
a
: a medicinal plant
b
: a vegetable drug having only one ingredient
3
: one component of a complex
specifically : an unanalyzable constituent
Choose the Right Synonym for simple

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
Make significant improvements with these simple tips. Jodie Cook, Forbes, 13 Feb. 2024 Get the Recipe 25 of 34 South Carolina: Shrimp and Grits This simple entrée has Lowcountry origins, with the earliest makers stirring fresh catch into the day's first bubbling pot of grits. Kaitlyn Yarborough, Southern Living, 13 Feb. 2024 Some 300 people in the U.S. Virgin Islands have been convicted of simple marijuana possession in the past 20 years. Dánica Coto, Quartz, 13 Feb. 2024 Her glam was also understated with a simple soft bronze eye shadow look and deep maroon matte lipstick. Charna Flam, Peoplemag, 13 Feb. 2024 With simple restructurings, the Niners can clear upwards of $80 million in salary cap space — the seventh-most in the NFL, per Over The Cap. Dieter Kurtenbach, The Mercury News, 13 Feb. 2024 The manually wound wristwatch features a sleek stainless-steel case and a simple black dial with a small-seconds register at six o’clock. Rachel Cormack, Robb Report, 13 Feb. 2024 What This Means for You Dermatologists say preteens can benefit from a simple skincare routine consisting of a cleanser, moisturizer, and sunscreen. Syeda Khaula Saad, Verywell Health, 12 Feb. 2024 Nearly a year later, David remembers Noelle in the simplest things. Samira Asma-Sadeque, Peoplemag, 1 Feb. 2024
Noun
Paltrow also flaunted a smokey-eye for her makeup, keeping the rest of her glam simple with a light peak cheek and glossy lips. Liza Esquibias, Peoplemag, 24 Jan. 2024 One simple, money-saving solution is to properly treat the windows in your home with quality curtains. Gabriela Izquierdo, Southern Living, 19 Jan. 2024 Despite seeming simple, the problem is notoriously difficult. Quanta Magazine, 29 Jan. 2024 After that, each person used different yarns to go around this personalized warp in a simple over and under pattern to create a circular design. Beth Lipoff, Kansas City Star, 19 Jan. 2024 This machine was also easy to use; there’s a simple on and off button and only one attachment. Sharon Brandwein, Southern Living, 17 Jan. 2024 Implement a lifestyle adjustment that will make your everyday routine simple. Eugenia Last, The Mercury News, 16 Jan. 2024 For years, the playbook for many companies that wanted to market digital therapeutics was stupid simple: Sell it like a prescription drug. Mario Aguilar, STAT, 18 Jan. 2024 The no-frills device made for a seamless steaming experience, with one simple on/off toggle switch and a tank that filled easily. Neha Tandon, Peoplemag, 9 Jan. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'simple.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

Adjective

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near simple

Cite this Entry

“Simple.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/simple. Accessed 25 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

simple

adjective
sim·​ple
ˈsim-pəl
simpler
-p(ə-)lər
; simplest
-p(ə-)ləst
1
: free from dishonesty or vanity : innocent
2
: not wealthy
simple folks
3
: lacking in education, experience, or intelligence
4
a
: free from complications
a simple melody
neat simple clothing
b
: consisting of only one main clause and no subordinate clauses
a simple sentence
c
: consisting of only the verb
a simple predicate
5
: not compound
a simple eye
6
a
: not divided into branches or leaflets
a simple leaf
b
: developing from a single ovary
simple fruits
7
: utter entry 1, absolute
the simple truth
8
: easy to understand or perform
simple instructions
a simple explanation
simpleness
-pəl-nəs
noun

Medical Definition

simple

1 of 2 adjective
sim·​ple ˈsim-pəl How to pronounce simple (audio)
simpler -p(ə-)lər How to pronounce simple (audio) ; simplest -p(ə-)ləst How to pronounce simple (audio)
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

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

Legal Definition

simple

adjective
sim·​ple
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
simply adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on simple

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