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 backgroundHarlow 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.

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 In moments like these, comics of Rock’s caliber know how to distill tragedy to its most hilariously simplistic elements. Nate Jackson, Los Angeles Times, 10 July 2024 Two humorous new books probe these conflicting attitudes while warning of the perils of simplistic, binary thinking. Charles Arrowsmith, Washington Post, 4 July 2024 These types of simplistic illustrations do more harm than good. Dan Danford, Kansas City Star, 3 July 2024 Because of its simplistic perfection, this dress can be worn in just about a million different iterations. Jenny Walton, Vogue, 29 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for simplistic 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'simplistic.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

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 25 Jul. 2024.

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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