sim·​ple·​ton | \ ˈsim-pəl-tən How to pronounce simpleton (audio) \

Definition of simpleton

: a person lacking in common sense

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Synonyms for simpleton


berk [British], booby, charlie (also charley) [British], cuckoo, ding-a-ling, ding-dong, dingbat, dipstick, doofus [slang], featherhead, fool, git [British], goose, half-wit, jackass, lunatic, mooncalf, nincompoop, ninny, ninnyhammer, nit [chiefly British], nitwit, nut, nutcase, simp, turkey, yo-yo

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Examples of simpleton in a Sentence

The instructions were so complicated I felt like a complete simpleton. his silly antics at office parties have earned him a reputation as a simpleton

Recent Examples on the Web

In the latter, good generally wins out, however messily: Dragons get slain, witches are shoved into ovens, simpletons land fortunes, and so on. Bruce Handy, The Atlantic, "The Peanuts Characters Aren’t Ordinary Kids," 29 Aug. 2019 Even petting a dog, resting in bed or stopping to smell the flowers seems to test the skills of Torabi’s inexperienced simpletons. David Pagel, Los Angeles Times, "In her paintings, the glorious awkwardness of men failing to have fun," 29 July 2019 What's notable here is the start of Nate and Jenny's endless courtship (who doesn't root for two good-hearted simpletons?) and the touching, poignant conversation between Allison and Rufus. Elizabeth Logan, Glamour, "Every Single Episode of Gossip Girl, Ranked," 19 Sep. 2018 The benefit of buying dirt-cheap goods from China is a comparative-advantage argument that even we economic simpletons can grasp. WSJ, "Boosting Industry Isn’t Trump’s Sole Trade Goal," 11 July 2018 Tilson Thomas did, however, end with the final version’s forest scene, in which the violent crowd sides with an imposter claiming to be Dimitri, and the last word is given to the simpleton prophesizing a future of sorrow for the Russian people. Mark Swed,, "Searching for Russia's soul, then and now, in 'Boris Godunov'," 19 June 2018 The door burst open and the basement filled with the sound of simpleton strumming as a herd of people tried to squeeze their way through the narrow frame. Chicago Tribune,, "Algren Award runner-up: "Am I Not Your Animal" by Matt Jones," 2 June 2018 But in that time the company cycled through four different consumer robot concepts in the hopes of shaping the future of the home, moving beyond simpleton Roombas to truly intelligent machines. Matt Simon, WIRED, "A Robotics Startup Perishes, and It’s Got Tales to Tell," 1 May 2018 Soon voice-command technology reached the public, ushering in our current era of unreliable computer interlocutors given to unforced errors: half-comical, half-pitiful simpletons, whose fate in life is to be taunted by eleven-year-olds. Junot Díaz, The New Yorker, "“2001: A Space Odyssey”: What It Means, and How It Was Made," 17 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'simpleton.' 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 simpleton

circa 1630, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for simpleton

simple entry 1 + -ton (as in surnames such as Washington)

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Statistics for simpleton

Last Updated

5 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for simpleton

The first known use of simpleton was circa 1630

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English Language Learners Definition of simpleton

old-fashioned : someone who is not very intelligent or who does not have or show good sense or judgment


sim·​ple·​ton | \ ˈsim-pəl-tən How to pronounce simpleton (audio) \

Kids Definition of simpleton

: a foolish or stupid person

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More from Merriam-Webster on simpleton

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for simpleton

Spanish Central: Translation of simpleton

Nglish: Translation of simpleton for Spanish Speakers

Comments on simpleton

What made you want to look up simpleton? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


concealment of treason or felony

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