sim·​plis·​tic sim-ˈpli-stik How to pronounce simplistic (audio)
: excessively simple or simplified : treating a problem or subject with false simplicity by omitting or ignoring complicating factors or details
adequate, if occasionally simplistic, historical background Harlow Robinson
The simplistic headlines of the press can be very misleading. Matt Ridley
Choosing wars as demarcations of cultural time segments may seem simplistic, but there is little question that a new sensibility made its appearance in the United States after World War II. Naomi Rosenblum
simplistically 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.

Example Sentences

a simplistic approach to a complicated problem His interpretation of the theory was too simplistic.
Recent Examples on the Web The interior is simplistic and straightforward, with a yoke steering wheel and two rectangular screens that curve upward from the dashboard. Caleb Miller, Car and Driver, 16 Nov. 2022 Lupita Nyong'o's hair is simplistic and timeless with a soft curl at the ends to give it just enough volume. Ann Wang, Seventeen, 9 Nov. 2022 The media narrative is simplistic and defined by a certain binary, this versus that. How To Save A Country, The New Republic, 3 Nov. 2022 Both JPMorgan and Fidelity are making a mockery of the metaverse with simplistic and useless entries into the emerging space. Ron Shevlin, Forbes, 2 May 2022 Employers are often left to do guesswork on a candidate’s fitness for a role based on simplistic measures like standardized test scores, concentrations or majors, and transcripts. Adam Wray, Forbes, 11 Nov. 2022 The Tucson sports a simplistic but modern dashboard design with a digital gauge display, a push-button shifter, and a touch-sensitive control panel for the climate-control system and infotainment. Drew Dorian, Car and Driver, 8 Nov. 2022 Choosing to lurk, to sit back and observe for a while, is basically a heuristic and simplistic approach to dealing with the complexity and chaos that is New Twitter. WIRED, 7 Nov. 2022 Another reason is a somewhat simplistic view of flooding. Quartz, 4 Nov. 2022 See More

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.

Word History

First Known Use

1844, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of simplistic was in 1844


Dictionary Entries Near simplistic

Cite this Entry

“Simplistic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition



sim·​plis·​tic sim-ˈplis-tik How to pronounce simplistic (audio)
: characterized by too much simplicity : not involving or dealing with related complexities
a simplistic explanation of the situation
simplistically adverb

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