Definition of simple in English:


Line breaks: sim¦ple
Pronunciation: /ˈsɪmp(ə)l

adjective (simpler, simplest)

1Easily understood or done; presenting no difficulty: a simple solution camcorders are now so simple to operate
More example sentences
  • The notes are simple and are easily understandable even to a common man.
  • The first five steps are really very simple and can easily avert a potential disaster.
  • The order should be expressed in simple terms, easily understood even by those who, like the appellant, are not very bright.
straightforward, easy, uncomplicated, uninvolved, effortless, painless, manageable, undemanding, unexacting, elementary, child's play, plain sailing, a five-finger exercise, nothing
informal as easy as falling off a log, as easy as pie, as easy as ABC, a piece of cake, a cinch, a snip, easy-peasy, no sweat, a doddle, a pushover, money for old rope, money for jam, kids' stuff, a breeze, a doss, a cakewalk
North American informal duck soup, a snap
Australian/New Zealand informal a bludge, a snack
South African informal a piece of old tackle
British vulgar slang a piece of piss
clear, plain, straightforward, clearly expressed, intelligible, comprehensible, uncomplicated, understandable, (words) of one syllable, lucid, coherent, unambiguous, direct, accessible, uninvolved
informal user-friendly
1.1 [attributive] Used to emphasize the fundamental and straightforward nature of something: the simple truth
More example sentences
  • All the fundamental paradoxes are true for one simple reason: they are truths.
  • I should not have had to cross the world to discover something as simple and fundamental as this.
  • This looks to me more like a boom driven by very simple fundamentals.
basic, fundamental; mere, sheer, pure, pure and simplecandid, frank, honest, direct, sincere, plain, absolute, unqualified, bald, stark, naked, blunt, unadorned, unvarnished, unembellished
2Plain, basic, or uncomplicated in form, nature, or design; without much decoration or ornamentation: a simple white blouse the house is furnished in a simple country style
More example sentences
  • All furniture forms were plain in design with simple or no surface decoration.
  • The entire layout is extremely basic and simple, designed to allow gamers to get in and out quickly.
  • The other features a modern look with simple designs in black white and silver.
plain, unadorned, undecorated, unembellished, unornamented, without ornament/ornamentation, unelaborate, unpretentious, unostentatious, unfussy, no-nonsense, basic, modest, unsophisticated, penny plain, without frills, honest, homely, homespun, everyday, workaday; stark, severe, spartan, austere, chaste, spare, bare; muted, unpatterned, patternless; classic, understated, uncluttered, clean, restrained; North Americanhomestyle
informal no-frills
2.1Humble and unpretentious: a quiet unassuming man with simple tastes
More example sentences
  • They lived a similar humble and simple life, before both being assassinated by the British Royal Family.
  • He was a quiet unassuming man with simple tastes and was dedicated to his greyhounds and track.
  • These leaders, unlike Jesus, who was humble and simple, are the affluent lot.
unpretentious, unsophisticated, ordinary, unaffected, unassuming, natural, honest-to-goodness, modest, homely, wholesome, humble, quiet, lowly, rustic; innocent, artless, guileless, childlike, naive, ingenuous, gullible, inexperienced; North Americancracker-barrel
informal green
3Composed of a single element; not compound.
More example sentences
  • That way you can upgrade your patient's break from a simple to a compound fracture and claim more money from the insurance company.
  • A lively dance; the music from Shakespeare's time is often in simple rather than compound metre.
non-compound, non-complex, uncompounded, uncombined, unmixed, unblended, unalloyed, pure, basic, single, elementary, fundamental
3.1 Mathematics Denoting a group that has no proper normal subgroup.
More example sentences
  • In it he determined the minimal simple finite groups, this is to say, the simple groups whose proper subgroups are solvable.
  • Galois then shows that the non-abelian simple group of smallest order has order 60.
  • He searched for finite simple groups and in an 1892 paper he showed that all simple groups up to order 200 are already known.
3.2 Botany (Of a leaf or stem) not divided or branched.
More example sentences
  • This axis comprised successive nodes, each having a simple leaf, separated by internodes of variable length.
3.3(Of a lens, microscope, etc.) consisting of a single lens or component.
More example sentences
  • Painters like Vermeer traced images from convex mirrors and simple lenses - thus the hand in the camera.
  • The biaxial scanning mechanism and the simple objective lenses are the key features.
  • Petzval produced an achromatic portrait lens that was vastly superior to the simple meniscus lens then in use.
3.4(In English grammar) denoting a tense formed without an auxiliary, for example sang as opposed to was singing.
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  • Traditionally, the simple future tense is will or shall followed by the infinitive: will follow.
3.5(Of interest) payable on the sum loaned only. Compare with compound1.
More example sentences
  • The interest rolls up in the units you buy, so you actually get capital gain on your units rather than simple interest.
  • Bankers charged simple interest, with interest capitalised at intervals.
  • They gave her simple interest on it and they absolved her of her liability for the occupation rent.
4Of very low intelligence.
More example sentences
  • Marx always emphasised that we can learn more from intelligent conservatives than from simple liberals.


chiefly historical Back to top  
A medicinal herb, or a medicine made from one: the gatherers of simples
More example sentences
  • The woodlands were a reservoir of fuel; they were a larder of delicacies; a medicine chest of simples and cures.
  • The poetic and medical arts - not disease - flourish in gardens: their cool shade and sacred laurel trees give shelter to Apollo's inspirational Muses, and their plants furnish powerful pharmaceutical simples to combat disease.
  • Tia Aria showed me the garden where herbs medicinal and herbs amatory went into the making of her famous simples.


Middle English: from Old French, from Latin simplus. The noun sense (mid 16th century) originally referred to a medicine made from one constituent, especially from one plant.



More example sentences
  • The folksiness, the simpleness, simply repels them.
  • The cultural preference of simpleness that has been with us throughout our long history is very solid and lies deep inside us.
  • ‘We were born simply into life; the simpleness of life is the most cherished,’ she continues.

Definition of simple in:

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Word of the day anomalous
Pronunciation: əˈnɒm(ə)ləs
deviating from what is standard, normal, or expected