sim·​plis·​tic | \sim-ˈpli-stik \

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 \ 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

But that simplistic description drastically undersells what Leveaux, Rudzinski, and the production and lighting designers accomplished with this live production. Caroline Framke, Vox, "The electric spectacle of Jesus Christ Superstar Live, in one shot," 2 Apr. 2018 Colon merely has created a simplistic, and thus impotent, paper tiger here; the political and pedagogical force of her work would be far greater if her villain had at least a touch of complexity. Chris Jones,, "'Tilikum' tells dark story of a captive orca at SeaWorld," 29 June 2018 These products have a simplistic, decidedly Apple-y aesthetic, from the simple dongle to the all-white stand that typically houses an iPad. Lauren Goode, WIRED, "How Square Made Its Own iPad Replacement," 18 June 2018 The points scored, in any case, are only the most simplistic measure of their value. Rob Mahoney,, "Stephen Curry's Shooting Bucks Conventional Math, Breaks Cavs' Resolve in Game 2," 4 June 2018 For all the strenuous effort exerted, The Beast in the Jungle ultimately feels too simplistic to fully put across James' complex psychological themes. Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter, "'The Beast in the Jungle': Theater Review," 24 May 2018 Evans’s laser focus on the Hope scholarship at first seems overly simplistic. Lisa Chase, Daily Intelligencer, "Stacey Vs. Stacey," 2 May 2018 And the simplistic nature and the source of his announcement were almost as surprising as the news itself. Andrew Joseph, For The Win, "LeBron James announced that he would be joining the Lakers in the least dramatic way," 1 July 2018 Critics say that policies that grew out of simplistic interpretations of this study were racist, classist, and simply ineffective. Laura Mckenna, The Atlantic, "The Long, Contentious History of the ‘Word Gap’ Study," 15 June 2018

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

7 Nov 2018

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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

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

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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).


to express warning or disapproval

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