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

Leave it to Rihanna to completely slay our lives, even in a relatively simple, straight-forward hairstyle. Leah Prinzivalli, Allure, "Rihanna's Cornrows Are Giving Fans (and Me) Life," 13 Mar. 2019 If just one more Republican adds support along with all 47 Senate Democrats, the resolution would pass the Senate by a simple majority. Kristina Peterson, WSJ, "House Passes Bill Blocking Trump Border Emergency," 26 Feb. 2019 According to Instagram account @stylejlo, the star opted for a vibrant, satin orange trench coat styled with a simple, midi-length body con dress by Alex Perry. Lucy Wood, Marie Claire, "Jennifer Lopez's Head-to-Toe Neon Coral Outfit is Brighter Than My Future," 17 Dec. 2018 The legislation only required a simple majority to pass under the Congressional Review Act. Michelle Ye Hee Lee, The Seattle Times, "Senate votes to overturn Trump administration donor disclosure rule for ‘dark money’ groups," 12 Dec. 2018 Democrats need to add two members without losing any to gain a simple majority, which would be necessary to make it so Mike Pence won't be called to cast the tie-breaking choice in 50-50 votes. Lucy Diavolo, Teen Vogue, "2018 Midterm Congressional Election Results: Which Party Is Winning the House and the Senate?," 7 Nov. 2018 For the event, Middleton opted for a simple yet classy blue longsleeve sheath dress by Jenny Packham, which featured puffed shoulders and a subtle belt at the waist. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kate Middleton Wears Royal Blue for a Surprise Engagement at the Imperial War Museum," 31 Oct. 2018 Why that isn’t the case is simple: Insurance won’t pay for more-expensive long-term care unless a person has already flunked out of less extensive and costly options, Bedi says. . Kayla Webley Adler, Marie Claire, "I Was One Of The Top Doctors In My Field. I Was Also An Opioid Addict.," 25 Feb. 2019 The premise of Nike’s Adapt shoe was simple: as in Back to the Future, the shoe would tighten automatically when the wearer inserts their foot. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "A Software Update Bricked Nike's $350 Self-Tying Shoes," 22 Feb. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 According to Victoria Hunter, co-founder of Whittemore House salon and the colorist behind the actress' new look, the blonde decision was simple: Liu was ready for a change. Samantha Sasso, refinery29.com, "Lucy Liu Bleached Her Hair Blonde — & It Looks So Good," 25 May 2018 The conventional rules for drinking wine are simple: red wine with red meat, white wine with white meat, and rosé for the summer. Rae Witte, Esquire, "What to Drink When You Want to Break the Wine-Pairing Rules," 2 Feb. 2018 The reason McAdoo didn’t go to Webb at first is pretty simple: Webb had not taken a series with the first-unit offensive through the regular season. Peter King, SI.com, "Washington Swaps Out Kirk Cousins for Alex Smith, But Did The Team Improve?," 31 Jan. 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

18 Mar 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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