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simmer

[sim-er] /ˈsɪm ər/
verb (used without object)
1.
to cook or cook in a liquid at or just below the boiling point.
2.
to make a gentle murmuring sound, as liquids cooking just below the boiling point.
3.
to be in a state of subdued or restrained activity, development, excitement, anger, etc.:
The town simmered with rumors.
verb (used with object)
4.
to keep (liquid) in a state approaching boiling.
5.
to cook in a liquid that is kept at or just below the boiling point.
noun
6.
the state or process of simmering.
Verb phrases
7.
simmer down,
  1. to reduce in volume by simmering.
  2. Slang. to become calm or quiet, as from a state of anger or turmoil:
    We waited for the audience to simmer down.
Origin
1645-1655
1645-55; alteration of earlier simper < ?
Related forms
simmeringly, adverb
resimmer, verb
unsimmered, adjective
unsimmering, adjective
Synonyms
3. See boil1 .
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for simmer
  • Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for a couple of hours.
  • Gradually add the grits, return to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to a low simmer.
  • Cover and put the heat on high until the contents begin to boil then set to simmer on low.
  • Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower heat to maintain a simmer.
  • Bring to a boil, cover, then simmer for fifteen minutes.
  • Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to maintain a simmer.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil, cover, then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer.
  • Bring pork and water to a boil in a large pot, skimming froth, then reduce heat to a simmer.
  • At times the temperature drops to a mere simmer but it occasionally comes to a full rolling boil as well.
British Dictionary definitions for simmer

simmer

/ˈsɪmə/
verb
1.
to cook (food) gently at or just below the boiling point
2.
(intransitive) to be about to break out in rage or excitement
noun
3.
the act, sound, or state of simmering
Word Origin
C17: perhaps of imitative origin; compare German summen to hum
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for simmer
v.

1650s, alteration of simperen "to simmer" (late 15c.), possibly imitative; not thought to be connected to simper (v.). OED says the change is "probably due to a feeling of phonetic appropriateness." Figurative sense, of feelings, "to be agitated" is from 1764. Opposite sense, in simmer down, first recorded 1871, probably from the notion of moving from a full boil to a mere simmer.

I must and will keep shady and quiet till Bret Harte simmers down a little. [Mark Twain, letter, 1871]
Related: Simmered; simmering. The noun meaning "a condition of simmering" is from 1809.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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