simple

adjective
sim·​ple | \ ˈsim-pəl \
simpler\ ˈsim-​p(ə-​)lər \; simplest\ ˈsim-​p(ə-​)ləst \

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 \ 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

Monitors evolved beyond being simple 27-inch rectangles. Brad Chacos, PCWorld, "6 important CES 2019 reveals and trends that PC enthusiasts need to know about," 11 Jan. 2019 This is a strange way of making a simple point: in the world of news, there is often no objective test for what’s true. Sean Illing, Vox, "Intellectuals have said democracy is failing for a century. They were wrong.," 20 Dec. 2018 This is a simple and clean decision point with nuanced strategic implications. Charlie Theel, Ars Technica, "KeyForge: The red-hot card game where every deck is unique—and unchangeable," 15 Dec. 2018 From there, the steps are relatively simple and easy to DIY—a true blessing. Taylor Mead, House Beautiful, "Giani's New Paint Kit Lets You DIY A Subway Tile Backsplash For Under $50," 7 Dec. 2018 Most of the furniture—an intentionally sparse collection of wooden and woven items with simple lines—was purchased or handmade in Uruguay. Paola Singer, ELLE Decor, "In an Expat Enclave of Rural Uruguay, a Couple Finds Tranquility at Home," 1 Dec. 2018 With strategic bombing, the aim was relatively simple: instead of sending an aircraft to hit an artillery piece on the front line, it could be sent to bomb the factory that produced the artillery piece. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Five Innovations to Emerge From the First World War," 11 Nov. 2018 According to People, there's a very simple reason for Kate standing with the Queen, while Meghan was on a different balcony. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Why Meghan Markle Didn't Stand on the Same Balcony as Kate Middleton During Remembrance Day," 11 Nov. 2018 Adding more insulation to ceilings and walls is relatively simple, but replacing drafty windows presents lots of choices. The Seattle Times, "Warm up for winter with expert advice on home improvements," 16 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 This simple boiled egg hit the sweet spot and refueled me, in the best way. Lorraine Allen, Good Housekeeping, "My Child Has a Severe Allergy, But I Secretly Ate Her Forbidden Food Anyway," 20 Dec. 2018 The good news is that these games deliver great gameplay while leaning on simple, lower-powered graphics (and in Astro Bot's case, still looking gorgeous). Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Feel better about your PlayStation VR with sweet new games Astro Bot, Firewall," 11 Oct. 2018 While her taste usually skews bold and quirky, Joo kept the design of the bedroom simple and painted the brick wall white to soften the space. Danielle Fox, ELLE Decor, "Inside a TriBeCa Loft Filled with Not-Your-Grandmother’s Antiques," 9 Oct. 2018 Garoppolo makes the simple throw and Kittle runs for a 21-yard gain. Steven Ruiz, For The Win, "Is Jalen Ramsey downplaying Jimmy Garoppolo's performance against the Jaguars?," 26 June 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

21 Jan 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 \
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 \
simpler\ -​p(ə-​)lər \; simplest\ -​p(ə-​)ləst \

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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a complex dispute or argument

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