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

The Moon's low gravity and rock-solid stability mean support structures for a giant telescope could be simple and cheap. Daniel Clery, Science | AAAS, "Could humanity’s return to the moon spark a new age of lunar telescopes?," 18 July 2019 Louie had more than one way to salt away 12 tricks, but the simplest and most elegant is to win the first club, draw trumps and pass the eight of diamonds. Frank Stewart, The Mercury News, "Bridge: July 15, 2019," 15 July 2019 The whole afternoon felt like a simple, yesteryear stroll in the park or a family picnic, reflecting the hometown nature of the city of Rocky River. Linda Gandee/special To Cleveland.com, cleveland.com, "Rocky River families enjoy a lazy summer afternoon at River Days," 15 July 2019 Spektr-RG was revived in 2005 and redesigned to be smaller, simpler and cheaper. Matthew Bodner, Fox News, "SEE IT: Russia launches major new telescope into space after delays," 15 July 2019 Certain projects can appear relatively simple and fun during edited or vendor-sponsored programming. Jeff Reina, Houston Chronicle, "GHBA Remodelers Council: Dodge DIY remodeling disasters by hiring a pro," 14 July 2019 In Filipstad, as in other communities, a simpler, readily identified culprit now takes blame for nearly every social problem — the refugees. Peter S. Goodman, New York Times, "The Nordic Model May Be the Best Cushion Against Capitalism. Can It Survive Immigration?," 11 July 2019 While those ideas may one day gain traction, in the near term, emails to borrowers may prove to be simpler and less contentious. Matthew De Silva, Quartz, "The simplest way to improve your credit score is by using your email," 10 July 2019 Lunch was the most simple and perfect pomodoro as only the Italians can do. Nicole Fritton, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Perfect Capri Itinerary, All in 3 Days," 10 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The actress keeps the rest of her routine ultra-simple, focusing on just a moisturizer before going to bed. Jenna Rosenstein, Harper's BAZAAR, "Watch Tati Gabrielle's Nighttime Skincare Routine," 2 July 2019 In terms of animation, Barnett said the construction team is keeping the float simple, for the most part. Anthony Clark Carpio, latimes.com, "Burbank float to honor wildfire victims with message of rebirth," 25 June 2019 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

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

22 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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