Definition of simmer in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈsɪmə/


[no object]
1(Of water or food that is being heated) stay just below boiling point while bubbling gently: the goulash was simmering slowly in the oven
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, not quite boil, cook gently, stew, poach;
rare seethe
1.1 [with object] Keep (food) just below boiling point 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?
1.2Exist in a suppressed state: the disagreement simmered for years and eventually boiled over
More example sentences
  • As controversy simmers this summer about problems in wheat production, some are reminded of the role a row about wheat played in the turbulent events of 1277.
  • Well, the tension's been simmering a long time.
  • This had been simmering a long time - his grandparents are Islander fans.
1.3Show or feel barely suppressed anger or other strong emotion: 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, be beside oneself, have lost one's temper, have a fit, boil, seethe, be boiling over, chafe, rage, be in a rage, rant, rave, rant and rave, storm, fume, smoulder, spit, breathe fire, burn
informal be livid, be wild, jump up and down, froth/foam at the mouth, be steamed up, be hot under the collar, have steam coming out of one's ears
British informal do one's head/nut in
1.4 (simmer down) Become calmer and quieter: she gave him time to simmer down after their argument
More 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, cool down, be placated, let someone smooth one's ruffled feathers, contain oneself, control oneself, become calmer, calm down, become quieter, quieten down, loosen up, settle (down)


[in singular]
A state or temperature just below 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

Line breaks: sim¦mer

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