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

But humans are complex, and labels are simplistic—our imperfect-but-necessary linguistic methods for translating that complexity into words. Sarah Jampel, Bon Appétit, "How I Travel Abroad as a Vegetarian Without Losing My Mind," 3 July 2019 Those books or poems often strike me as simplistic, or reductive . . Amanda Petrusich, The New Yorker, "Going Home with Wendell Berry," 29 May 2019 The goal was to challenge the all-too-intuitive picture of a straight arrow going from cause to effect as far too simplistic to describe the real world. Quanta Magazine, "Solution: ‘The Slippery Math of Causation’," 29 June 2018 After all, there are several assumptions in this model that are much too simplistic or even downright unrealistic. Quanta Magazine, "Evolutionary Math and Just-So Stories," 15 Aug. 2018 The fair’s troubles could be dismissed as a regional rejection of farming life, but that would be too simplistic., "From the Editor: Until you experience it, it's hard to comprehend the hidden costs of being poor," 13 June 2019 The fair’s troubles could be dismissed as a regional rejection of farming life, but that would be too simplistic. Amber Hunt,, "Tired and worn: Hamilton County Fairgrounds, once a statewide draw, now on life support," 11 June 2019 For now, assigning blame to one person or one staff is too simplistic. Rohan Nadkarni,, "Assigning Blame for Kevin Durant’s Achilles Injury Isn’t That Simple," 11 June 2019 That may be overly simplistic, but staying on the fairway will go a long way at Pebble Beach, which features some of the smallest greens on tour and has been subject to the usual USGA manipulations ahead of the U.S. Open. Matt Bonesteel,, "Can anyone beat Brooks Koepka at Pebble Beach?," 11 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

18 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for simplistic

The first known use of simplistic was circa 1881

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More Definitions for simplistic



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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More from Merriam-Webster on simplistic

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with simplistic

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for simplistic

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).


something desired as essential

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