sim·​plis·​tic | \ sim-ˈpli-stik How to pronounce simplistic (audio) \

Definition of simplistic

1 : simple
2 : of, relating to, or characterized by simplism : oversimple adequate, if occasionally simplistic, historical background— Harlow Robinson

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Other Words from simplistic

simplistically \ sim-​ˈpli-​sti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce simplistically (audio) \ adverb

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The facts of nature and of life are more apt to be complex than simple. Simplistic theories are generally one-sided and partial, wrote the American clergyman James Freeman Clarke in the 19th century, nicely illustrating the difference between plain, ordinary simple and the then-new adjective simplistic. Simplistic is generally synonymous with oversimplified, but we didn't have the verb oversimplify and its participle oversimplified until well into the 20th century. Simplistic is sometimes used in the neutral sense of "not complicated" (in which case it is synonymous with simple) but this borders on misuse-simplistic is generally understood to be pejorative.

Examples of simplistic in a Sentence

a simplistic approach to a complicated problem His interpretation of the theory was too simplistic.

Recent Examples on the Web

At the same time, however, arguments about specific politicians are much too simplistic. David French, Time, "My Fellow Republicans Must Stand Against the Alt-Right Virus Infecting America," 8 Aug. 2019 The currency gives rise to both passionate debate and simplistic, sweeping political declarations. Cheikh Ahmed Bamba Diagne, Quartz Africa, "How Francophone Africa’s France-backed CFA franc works and why it’s controversial," 2 Aug. 2019 But Professor Levine did not draw simplistic conclusions. Neil Genzlinger, New York Times, "Robert Levine, Who Studied Kindness, Identity and Time, Dies at 73," 3 July 2019 But there is no simplistic conclusion here -- for Feinberg has created a multi-layered portrait of a spiritual leader, but also the cult around him. John Petkovic,, "Cleveland International Film Festival: 'Father's Kingdom' a fascinating portrait of a spiritual leader, his cult," 10 Apr. 2018 This tendency to create a simplistic narrative to make sense of the world helps explain the popularity of conspiracy theories among political extremists. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Understanding the psychology of hate," 22 July 2019 Maria Grazia Chiuri asked 'are clothes modern?' for Christian Dior's offering, a simplistic take on couture where the models wore flat sandals with culotte pants. Channing Hargrove,, "As Couture Week Changes For The Better, A Look At The Prettiest Dresses So Far," 5 July 2019 At worst, her heroism reduces The Handmaid’s Tale to a simplistic empowerment narrative or rape-revenge fantasy. Time, "The Handmaid's Tale Could Be So Much Better. But First It Has to Leave Its Star Behind," 26 June 2019 Trump’s trade war is based on a simplistic understanding of the trade balance. Greg Linden, The Conversation, "The guts of an Apple iPhone show exactly what Trump gets wrong about trade," 25 June 2019

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

circa 1881, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

15 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for simplistic

The first known use of simplistic was circa 1881

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English Language Learners Definition of simplistic

disapproving : too simple : not complete or thorough enough : not treating or considering all possibilities or parts

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with simplistic

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Spanish Central: Translation of simplistic

Comments on simplistic

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


not constant or steady

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