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

Fortunately for Diem, the process of removing it was simple. Jim Ayello, Indianapolis Star, "Ex-Colts lineman Ryan Diem's injury could shed light on Andrew Luck's prognosis," 13 Aug. 2019 Pork goes great with teriyaki sauce, but this recipe is a little simpler than that, and gets a great golden hue from the turmeric. Carrie Knauer, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "Carrie’s Kitchen: Trio of grilling recipes to get us through the end of summer," 12 Aug. 2019 The movie being shot in black and white when color was standard makes a bold statement about the cultures in conflict, and the fact that choosing the right path is as simple as black and white. Breeanna Hare, CNN, "We asked what you consider a 'classic movie.' These are your picks," 11 Aug. 2019 Gargano chose a Street Fight, while Cole kept things simple and challenged the man known as Johnny Wrestling to a straight-up singles match for the second fall. Dan Gartland, SI.com, "NXT TakeOver Toronto: Match Card, Start Time, Predictions and More," 10 Aug. 2019 The call was simple: donate $1 a day to restore your home country. Haleluya Hadero, Quartz Africa, "Ethiopia’s financial reforms hold promise for its diaspora business community," 10 Aug. 2019 The posts were fairly simple — most included one of six short (20- to 25-second) clips of the show and a link, either to the show's webpage or to media coverage. Scott Roxborough, The Hollywood Reporter, "How a Norwegian Viking Comedy Producer Hacked Netflix's Algorithm," 8 Aug. 2019 Answer a few questions on this simple salary calculator from Glassdoor to find out the salary range for someone with your specific experience, location, and title. Jo Yurcaba, Woman's Day, "How to Negotiate a Salary Offer With Confidence," 1 Aug. 2019 Executive chef David Osborne has created the most simple, the most perfect, expression of salmon. Samantha Dunn, Orange County Register, "Editor’s Letter: Let’s go eat," 31 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The goal of forest school is simple: to help the orangutans in the rehabilitation centers be just like the ones in the wild. Kelli Bender, PEOPLE.com, "School for Orphaned Baby Orangutans Helps the Young Primates Grow Up and Graduate to the Wild," 1 Aug. 2019 The Atlantic League’s solution is simple: As teams have installed the necessary equipment, plate umpires have begun to wear earpieces that report whether each pitch is a strike or ball, using the radar technology TrackMan. Alex Putterman, courant.com, "Automatic strike zone? Stealing first base? New Britain Bees at center of baseball experimentation," 22 July 2019 The concept behind social-emotional learning is simple: Train teachers to teach our students how to use these skills in everyday life. Chirlane Mccray, Fortune, "Bill de Blasio and Chirlane McCray: Why We're Introducing Social-Emotional Learning in New York City Schools," 20 June 2019 The solution is simple, Keeping Girls in School Act would require USAID and the State Department to strategize how to empower adolescent girls with access to quality secondary education. Letters To The Editor, The Mercury News, "Letter: Investing in girls is investing in jobs, peace and the future," 30 July 2019 Youngblood has done little to ramp up the game's enemy variety—let alone its AI—while boss battles revolve around simple, repetitive patterns and sky-high hit-point counts. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Wolfenstein Youngblood review: In my day, we called this an expansion pack," 25 July 2019 For Sanders and Warren, the answer is simple: a lot less. Alex Ward, Vox, "Trade, defense, and Israel: 2020 Democrats’ foreign policy flashpoints," 27 June 2019 Getty Images The daring look, which Sophie snapped up an entire year ahead of its release, was contrasted with totally effortless, barely there beauty, pairing wet look, slicked back hair with simple, immaculate eyeliner and fresh skin. Lucy Wood, Marie Claire, "Sophie Turner Wore a Naked Chainmail Dress at the 'Dark Phoenix' Premiere," 28 May 2019 The inventorying reduces to a finite, though still formidable, task when mathematicians consider only convex polygons: simple, flat-edged shapes like triangles and rectangles whose angles all bend in the same direction. Quanta Magazine, "Pentagon Tiling Proof Solves Century-Old Math Problem," 11 July 2017

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

19 Aug 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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