sim·​plis·​tic | \ sim-ˈpli-stik How to pronounce simplistic (audio) \

Definition of simplistic

: 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

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Other Words from simplistic

simplistically \ sim-​ˈpli-​sti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce simplistic (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 the book’s closing rally cry for socialism ultimately presents a simplistic, and obviously faulty, solution to a complex set of problems. Sarah Schutte, National Review, 6 Sep. 2021 Here was a 24-year-old scrapper sucking up all the oxygen with a simplistic riff on an age-old plot. Hillary Kelly, Los Angeles Times, 2 Sep. 2021 His enthusiasm for tricky, often contradictory, ideas feels refreshing to those who came of age in a world of social-media moralizing, simplistic documentaries, and smug opinion pieces. Hannah Williams, The Atlantic, 11 Aug. 2021 The original could be rather simplistic, but the rewrite unnecessarily complicates that simple, straightforward piece of entertainment. Christopher Arnott,, 23 June 2021 Experts who are well-steeped in their area of specialty often prefer sounding thoughtful rather than simplistic about their complex field, which means using qualifiers. Liz Guthridge, Forbes, 25 May 2021 Pat alludes to the streamlined suits that X famously wore in public in his simplistic designs. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, 4 Aug. 2021 Metrics designed to make simplistic comparisons between companies may not be up to the task. Judy Samuelson, Quartz, 28 July 2021 As if the simplistic designs weren’t enough, the clothing brand uses the stunning and effortless beauty of Jasmine Tookes to display the collection. Essence, 26 July 2021

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

1844, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of simplistic was in 1844

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Last Updated

16 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Simplistic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Sep. 2021.

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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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