[sim-puh l] /ˈsɪm pəl/
adjective, simpler, simplest.
easy to understand, deal with, use, etc.:
"a simple matter; simple tools."
not elaborate or artificial; plain:
"a simple style."
not ornate or luxurious; unadorned:
"a simple gown."
unaffected; unassuming; modest:
"a simple manner."
not complicated:
"a simple design."
not complex or compound; single.
occurring or considered alone; mere; bare:
"the simple truth; a simple fact."
free of deceit or guile; sincere; unconditional:
"a frank, simple answer."
common or ordinary:
"a simple soldier."
not grand or sophisticated; unpretentious:
"a simple way of life."
humble or lowly:
"simple folk."
inconsequential or rudimentary.
unlearned; ignorant.
lacking mental acuteness or sense:
"a simple way of thinking."
unsophisticated; naive; credulous.
  1. composed of only one substance or element:
    a simple substance.
  2. not mixed.
Botany. not divided into parts:
"a simple leaf; a simple stem."
Zoology. not compound:
"a simple ascidian."
Music. uncompounded or without overtones; single:
"simple tone."
Grammar. having only the head without modifying elements included: The simple subject of “The dappled pony gazed over the fence” is “pony.”.
Compare complete (def 5).
(of a verb tense) consisting of a main verb with no auxiliaries, as takes (simple present) or stood (simple past) (opposed to compound).
Mathematics, linear (def 7).
Optics. (of a lens) having two optical surfaces only.
an ignorant, foolish, or gullible person.
something simple, unmixed, or uncompounded.
simples, Textiles. cords for controlling the warp threads in forming the shed on draw-looms.
a person of humble origins; commoner.
an herb or other plant used for medicinal purposes:
"country simples."
1175–1225; (adj.) Middle English < Old French < Late Latin simplus simple, Latin (in simpla pecunia simple fee or sum), equivalent to sim- one (see simplex) + -plus, as in duplus duple, double (see -fold); cognate with Greek háplos (see haplo-); (noun) Middle English: commoner, derivative of the adj.
Related forms
simpleness, noun
oversimple, adjective
oversimpleness, noun
oversimply, adverb
subsimple, adjective
ultrasimple, adjective
unsimple, adjective
unsimpleness, noun
unsimply, adverb
Can be confused
simple, simplified, simplistic (see confusables note at simplistic)
1. clear, intelligible, understandable, unmistakable, lucid. 2. natural, unembellished, neat. 8. artless, guileless, ingenuous. 12. trifling, trivial, nonessential, unnecessary. 13. untutored, stupid.
Confusables note
See simplistic.
Synonym Study
10. See homely.
Example Sentences for simple
If you're too clear, if your sentences are too simple, your peers won't take you seriously.
Some are simple and straightforward, others intricate and complex.
Pure and simple, they do not belong to those who took them.
So clear and simple is it, indeed, that one constantly forgets that the printed page is before one.
From there it's easy to imagine tiny, sugar-poached tomatoes nestled alongside summer berries in a simple tart or crumble.
It's a natural fit for practically any get-together-from a simple family birthday celebration to an elaborate dinner party.
To say the problem is merely the power of organized labor is too simple-minded.
The facts are accurately stated, but the suggestion that they are not capable of easy and simple explanation is not justified.
It's so simple and easy to carbonate anything, especially liquor.
It's a simple step that will make all the difference in the world.
British Dictionary definitions for simple
simple (ˈsɪmpəl)
1.  not involved or complicated; easy to understand or do: a simple problem
2.  plain; unadorned: a simple dress
3.  consisting of one element or part only; not combined or complex: a simple mechanism
4.  unaffected or unpretentious: although he became famous, he remained a simple and well-liked man
5.  not guileful; sincere; frank: her simple explanation was readily accepted
6.  of humble condition or rank: the peasant was of simple birth
7.  weak in intelligence; feeble-minded
8.  (prenominal) without additions or modifications; mere: the witness told the simple truth
9.  (prenomina) ordinary or straightforward: a simple case of mumps
10.  chem (of a substance or material) consisting of only one chemical compound rather than a mixture of compounds
11.  maths
 a.  (of a fraction) containing only integers
 b.  (of an equation) containing variables to the first power only; linear
 c.  (of a root of an equation) occurring only once; not multiple
12.  biology
 a.  not divided into parts: a simple leaf; a simple eye
 b.  formed from only one ovary: simple fruit
13.  music relating to or denoting a time where the number of beats per bar may be two, three, or four
14.  a simpleton; fool
15.  a plant, esp a herbaceous plant, having medicinal properties
[C13: via Old French from Latin simplex plain]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for simple
early 13c., "humble, ignorant," from O.Fr. simple, from L. simplus "single," variant of simplex (see simplex). Sense evolved to "lowly, common" (late 13c.), then "mere, pure" (c.1300). As opposite of composite it dates from 1425; as opposite of complicated it dates from c.1555. Disparaging sense (mid-14c.) is from notion of "devoid of duplicity." Simply (adv.) in purely intensive sense is attested from 1590.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang related to simple




Dictionary of American Slang
Copyright © 1986 by HarperCollins Publishers
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simple in Technology

1. Early system on Datatron 200 series. Listed in CACM 2(5):16 (May 1959).
2. Simulation of Industrial Management Problems with Lots of Equations. R.K. Bennett, 1958. Predecessor to DYNAMO, for IBM 704.

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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Idioms and Phrases with simple


see pure and simple.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Rhymes with simple

Difficulty index for simple

All English speakers likely know this word

Tile value for simple

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