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

Profits per partner are too easy for law firm leaders to manipulate.(Revenues per lawyer) is simple. Mark Curriden, Houston Chronicle, "Seventeen corporate law firms in Texas hit elite status," 5 July 2019 My scoring is simple: five categories, each worth a maximum of 10 points. Jon Tayler, SI.com, "Ranking the 10 Best Home Runs of 2019 So Far," 4 July 2019 Articles, demonstrative, and adjectives all inflected for case in Old English, so English speakers a few hundred years ago would have found German pretty simple. Michelle Sheehan, Quartz, "Five reasons English speakers struggle to learn other languages," 3 July 2019 The set is simple: a little fabric, a chair, maybe some flowers. Nina Strochlic, National Geographic, "In Tijuana, a street studio attracts migrants and locals," 2 July 2019 The cause of the crisis would appear to be simple math: The number of foster beds is decreasing, and the number of kids is on the rise. Mary Jo Pitzl, Arizona Republic, "Foster-care 'crisis': More kids entering Arizona system as number of foster homes declines," 2 July 2019 Get our daily newsletter The reason for the rush is simple. The Economist, "Seeking students and status, regional universities set up in London," 29 June 2019 Camped outside the Iranian Embassy in London, his message is simple: His wife, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, must be freed. Fox News, "Husband of aid worker jailed in Iran says his wife is being used as ‘bargaining chip’," 26 June 2019 The bill’s sponsor, state Rep. Scott Simon, R-Abita Springs, and craft brewers thought its passage would be simple. nola.com, "Louisiana craft brewers tap into competition, slowing sales," 16 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The recipe for these powerful and immense storms is quite simple: Warm water, specific atmospheric conditions and a little bit of spin are enough to create hurricanes that can span over 1,000 miles. Nathaniel Scharping, Discover Magazine, "Hurricanes: How These Destructive Storms Form, and Why They Get So Strong," 26 June 2019 To me, the answer is simple: Be that young law firm partner for the women in your life. Meena Harris, Marie Claire, "Phenomenal Woman's Meena Harris on Why We Need Men," 8 Mar. 2019 Our reasoning is simple: Corn salads are a summer classic. Aliza Abarbanel, Bon Appétit, "The No-Brainer Corn Salad We’re Eating All Summer," 21 June 2019 The concept is simple: Head into a forest, walk about slowly under the canopy of trees and enjoy the multi-sensory experience. Brittany Anas, The Know, "What’s forest bathing and why are so many people in Colorado doing it?," 19 June 2019 That simple — critics say simplistic — message has resonated with Brexit-backing voters angry at the country’s political deadlock. Washington Post, "UK’s Brexit Party narrowly defeated in key electoral test," 7 June 2019 Minimalism for me is about keeping a space simple, uncluttered and accentuating the attractive architectural features of a space. Samantha Myers | Dering Hall, ELLE Decor, "Everything You Need to Know About Minimalist Design," 17 May 2019 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

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

8 Jul 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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