Definition of simmer in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈsimər/


[no object]
1(Of water or food) stay just below the boiling point while being heated: the goulash was simmering slowly on the stove figurative the disagreement simmered for years and eventually boiled over
More example sentences
  • Once the ingredients have simmered slowly in the soup, the chef adds the final seasonings and the alphabet soup is ready to be consumed and enjoyed.
  • You could also put a large panful of boiling salted water on to simmer gently so that it will come to the boil quickly at half-time.
  • Reduce heat immediately to keep the water simmering, but not boiling.
boil gently, cook gently, bubble, stew
1.1 [with object] Keep (food) just below boiling when cooking or heating it: simmer the sauce gently until thickened
More example sentences
  • The resulting cooking liquid is simmered, seasoned, and served as the accompanying sauce.
  • He's standing at the stove, simmering spaghetti sauce.
  • For the young, brought up on MTV and quickie meals and express lines, will spending hours and hours lovingly simmering a pot of degchi mutton be something futile and unimaginable?
1.2Be in a state of suppressed anger or excitement: she was simmering with resentment
More example sentences
  • Another reason why this family drama works is every performance is strong and simmering with resentments and disappointments.
  • Her speech certainly had the noble accent it acquired when she was simmering with suppressed anger.
  • He simmers with anger and embarrassment for a few days, then confronts Abe for picking on him because he's ‘not a professional.’
be furious, be enraged, be angry, be incensed, be infuriated, seethe, fume, brim, smolder
informal be steamed up, be hot under the collar, stew
1.3 (simmer down) Become calmer and quieter.
Example sentences
  • Where Good was an energetic collection of unique bouncing melodies, Fiji Baby simmers down with mellow ballads.
  • Eventually (after 14 cigarettes and two of those carbonated malt beverages) the hatred simmers down and turns into pity.
  • Straight ahead, simmering down or getting ready for another blowup?
become less angry, cool off/down, be placated, control oneself, become calmer, calm down, become quieter, quiet down
informal chill (out), chillax, take a chill pill


[in singular]
A state or temperature just below the boiling point: bring the water to a simmer
More example sentences
  • Reduce your boiling water to a simmer, and plop two raw bagels in the water.
  • But just knowing her little brother was inside was enough to make her blood heat to a simmer.
  • Once at boiling point, lower to a simmer, cover and cook for about 25 minutes or until tender, then liquidise and check seasoning.


Mid 17th century: alteration of dialect simper (in the same sense), perhaps imitative.

Words that rhyme with simmer

dimmer, glimmer, limber, limner, shimmer, skimmer, slimmer, strimmer, swimmer, trimmer, zimmer

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: sim·mer

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