simple

adjective
sim·​ple | \ ˈsim-pəl How to pronounce simple (audio) \
simpler\ ˈsim-​p(ə-​)lər How to pronounce simple (audio) \; simplest\ ˈsim-​p(ə-​)ləst How to pronounce simple (audio) \

Essential Meaning of simple

1 : not hard to understand or do a simple task The solution to the problem was relatively simple. See More ExamplesThe answer is really quite simple. a simple [=straightforward] explanation a simple recipe There are three simple steps/rules to follow. The camera is simple to use. The directions seem simple enough. [=seem fairly simple] Just press the button. It is as simple as that. = Just press the button. It is that simple. Don't go into too much detail in the report. Just keep it simple and to the point.Hide
2 : having few parts : not complex or fancy The engine has a simple [=basic] design. a simple machine See More ExamplesThe melody is very simple. She wore a simple [=plain, unadorned] black dress. We don't want to spend a lot of money on the party, so we're keeping it simple. [=we're not having an extravagant party]Hide
3 : not special or unusual : ordinary simple folks I'm a simple farmer just trying to make a living. See More ExamplesHe enjoys the simple pleasure of spending time with his wife and kids after work. Relaxing on the beach and watching the sunset is one of life's simple pleasures.Hide

Full Definition of simple

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : free from guile : innocent
2a : free from vanity : modest
b : free from ostentation or display a simple outfit
3 : of humble origin or modest position a simple farmer
4a : lacking in knowledge or expertise a simple amateur of the arts
b : lacking in intelligence : stupid
c : not socially or culturally sophisticated : naive also : credulous
5a : sheer, unmixed simple honesty
b : free of secondary complications a simple vitamin deficiency
c(1) : having only one main clause and no subordinate clauses a simple sentence
(2) of a subject or predicate : having no modifiers, complements, or objects
d : constituting a basic element : fundamental
e : not made up of many like units a simple eye
6 : free from elaboration or figuration simple harmony
7a(1) : not subdivided into branches or leaflets a simple stem a simple leaf
(2) : consisting of a single carpel
(3) : developing from a single ovary a simple fruit
b : controlled by a single gene simple inherited characters
8 : not limited or restricted : unconditional a simple obligation
9 : readily understood or performed simple directions the adjustment was simple to make
10 of a statistical hypothesis : specifying exact values for one or more statistical parameters — compare composite sense 3

simple

noun

Definition of simple (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : a person of humble birth : commoner thought very little of anybody, simples or gentry— Virginia Woolf
b(1) : a rude or credulous person : ignoramus
(2) : simpleton
2a : a medicinal plant
b : a vegetable drug having only one ingredient
3 : one component of a complex specifically : an unanalyzable constituent

Other Words from simple

Adjective

simpleness \ ˈsim-​pəl-​nəs How to pronounce simple (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for simple

Adjective

simple, foolish, silly, fatuous, asinine mean actually or apparently deficient in intelligence. simple implies a degree of intelligence inadequate to cope with anything complex or involving mental effort. considered people simple who had trouble with computers foolish implies the character of being or seeming unable to use judgment, discretion, or good sense. foolish stunts silly suggests failure to act as a rational being especially by ridiculous behavior. the silly antics of revelers fatuous implies foolishness, inanity, and disregard of reality. fatuous conspiracy theories asinine suggests utter and contemptible failure to use normal rationality or perception. an asinine plot

synonyms see in addition easy

Examples of simple in a Sentence

Adjective The solution to the problem was relatively simple. The answer is really quite simple. There are three simple steps to follow. The camera is simple to use. Don't go into too much detail in the report. Just keep it simple and to the point. The melody is very simple. I'm a simple farmer just trying to make a living. He enjoys the simple pleasure of spending time with his wife and kids after work. Relaxing on the beach and watching the sunset is one of life's simple pleasures.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The gameboard is simple: Six lines of five empty boxes and a virtual keyboard at the bottom. oregonlive, 7 Jan. 2022 The challenge is simple: donate to any local or national animal shelter, rescue or agency in White's name leading up to or on Jan. 17 on what would have been her 100th birthday. Jordan Mendoza, USA TODAY, 6 Jan. 2022 The products are simple but made with the most divine ingredients, and with the type of technique and expertise that is passed down through culture and community. Tamim Alnuweiri, Travel + Leisure, 5 Jan. 2022 The rationale for a screen that combines earnings yield, earnings retention and dividend yield is simple: Every value investor should seek high growth and high dividends at a bargain price. Charles Rotblut, Forbes, 5 Jan. 2022 Its etymology is simple: to pre-dict is to say before, to articulate what has not yet come to pass. Diana Rose Harper, Wired, 5 Jan. 2022 But there has clearly been a backlash to all of that, with deep roots that are not simple. Los Angeles Times, 5 Jan. 2022 And the way to my ideal ’shrooms is simple: Squish them! Bettina Makalintal, Bon Appétit, 4 Jan. 2022 The promise of Theranos was simple: The startup would revolutionize health care with cheaper, easier blood tests that took only a few drops of blood to diagnose conditions as varied as prostate cancer and pregnancy. Erin Woo, BostonGlobe.com, 3 Jan. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun This style is anything but minimalist, so leave the rest of the styling simple. Frances Solá-santiago, refinery29.com, 15 Dec. 2021 She and Craig were asked to keep Christmas simple, with no more than two gifts for the little girl. Lennie Omalza, The Courier-Journal, 7 Dec. 2021 Visit the space in groovy striped pants from Trina Turke, who is based in the city, and then keep the rest simple: a Skims shell, a mod-looking JW Pei bag, and some Reformation sandals. Lilah Ramzi, Vogue, 17 Sep. 2021 One simple, haunting moment in particular stands out: Both versions of Wayland sit facing the audience working on a shoe. Jerald Pierce, chicagotribune.com, 2 Nov. 2021 The nine-part Netflix original involves a group of people from all walks of life who sign up for a series of simple, but utterly lethal games, organized by mysterious hosts in masks and red overalls. Patrick Frater, Variety, 24 Sep. 2021 Try these 15 simple, yet effective actions to help revamp your customer experience, shared by the members of Forbes Business Council. Expert Panel®, Forbes, 26 Oct. 2021 In the old model of customer support, agents tackled every customer inquiry — from the simple to the mind-boggling — one case at a time. Clara Shih, Forbes, 14 Oct. 2021 The idea is to install across the continent simple, relatively inexpensive weather stations like the one at Ole Tipis, a girls’ boarding school outside the town of Narok. Washington Post, 24 Sep. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'simple.' 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 simple

Adjective

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for simple

Adjective

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin simplus, alteration of Latin simplic-, simplex single, having one ingredient, plain, from sem-, sim- one + -plic-, -plex -fold — more at same, -fold

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Time Traveler for simple

Time Traveler

The first known use of simple was in the 13th century

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Dictionary Entries Near simple

simpering

simple

simple beam

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Statistics for simple

Last Updated

9 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Simple.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/simple. Accessed 19 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for simple

simple

adjective
sim·​ple | \ ˈsim-pəl How to pronounce simple (audio) \
simpler; simplest

Kids Definition of simple

1 : not hard to understand or solve a simple task
2 : easy entry 1 sense 1, straightforward a simple explanation
3 : lacking in education, experience, or intelligence The queen was really a simple soul and always … had done nothing except state the overly obvious.— Kate DiCamillo, The Tale of Despereaux
4 : not complex or fancy She wore simple clothing.
6 : not rich or important simple folk
7 : without qualification : sheer the simple truth

simple

adjective
sim·​ple | \ ˈsim-pəl How to pronounce simple (audio) \
simpler\ -​p(ə-​)lər How to pronounce simple (audio) \; simplest\ -​p(ə-​)ləst How to pronounce simple (audio) \

Medical Definition of simple

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : free from complexity or difficulty: as
a : easily treated or cured a simple vitamin deficiency
b : controlled by a single gene simple inherited characters
2 : of, relating to, or being an epithelium in which the cells are arranged in a single layer

simple

noun

Medical Definition of simple (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a medicinal plant
2 : a vegetable drug having only one ingredient

simple

adjective
sim·​ple

Legal Definition of simple

1 : oral or written but not under seal or of record
2 : not extreme, aggravated, or complicated simple kidnapping
3 : having no limitations or restrictions — see also fee simple

Other Words from simple

simply adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on simple

Nglish: Translation of simple for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of simple for Arabic Speakers

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