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

Did You Know?

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 the series avoids a simplistic good-versus-bad tone. USA TODAY, "Arizona Republic, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel lead 2017 USA TODAY Network journalism awards," 7 Mar. 2018 Your critics argue that your ideas are simplistic or overreliant on anecdotal evidence. Interview By Dan Amira, New York Times, "Malcolm Gladwell Likes Things Better in Canada," 29 May 2018 The tweets represent Trump’s simplistic characterization of conversations in recent days with Asian leaders whose reactions to his diplomatic gambit have been more complicated. Greg Miller, Washington Post, "Trump tweets claims of support by China and Japan for summit with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un," 10 Mar. 2018 The Sunstone crowd has always rejected that simplistic view. Sarah Scoles, Longreads, "Meet the New Mormons," 8 June 2018 Their simplistic shapes belie their profound complexities; a limitation of sorts inherent to cloisonné. Lilah Ramzi, Vogue, "The Hot Seat: Designer Marc Newson Is Celebrated With a Gagosian Gallery Show," 19 Jan. 2019 Even in their earliest, most child-friendly days, J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books were never particularly simplistic. Tasha Robinson, The Verge, "Even for the Harry Potter hardcore, Crimes of Grindelwald is one convoluted movie," 8 Nov. 2018 Some school security and psychology experts, as well as those who have been studying mass shootings for decades, say school designs and talk of arming teachers is a simplistic approach that doesn't get at the heart of preventing it from happening. Lisa Marie Pane, The Christian Science Monitor, "Why school shootings seem to happen mostly in small towns," 22 May 2018 Some school security and psychology experts, as well as those who have been studying mass shootings for decades, say school designs and talk of arming teachers is a simplistic approach that doesn’t get at the heart of preventing it from happening. Washington Post, "Mass school shootings mostly happening in small-town America," 22 May 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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Statistics for simplistic

Last Updated

23 May 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).


highly pertinent or appropriate

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