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[sim-er] /ˈsɪm ər/
verb (used without object)
to cook or cook in a liquid at or just below the boiling point.
to make a gentle murmuring sound, as liquids cooking just below the boiling point.
to be in a state of subdued or restrained activity, development, excitement, anger, etc.:
The town simmered with rumors.
verb (used with object)
to keep (liquid) in a state approaching boiling.
to cook in a liquid that is kept at or just below the boiling point.
the state or process of simmering.
Verb phrases
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 of simmer
First recorded in 1645-55; alteration of earlier simper < ?
Related forms
simmeringly, adverb
resimmer, verb
unsimmered, adjective
unsimmering, adjective
Synonym Study
3. See boil1. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for simmer down
Historical Examples
  • It took him a lifetime to simmer down his business to just yes and no.

    The Making of Bobby Burnit George Randolph Chester
  • "simmer down," he said, as he seated himself at the head of the table.

    The Lani People J. F. Bone
  • I thought it might simmer down; but it's broken bigger than I ever dreamed.

    What Will People Say? Rupert Hughes
  • Kieran, on a camp-stool, waited for the laughter to simmer down.

    Wide Courses

    James Brendan Connolly
  • Then with these before you, you can soon, by stating them and rearranging them, simmer down your case into arguable form.

    The Making of Arguments J. H. Gardiner
  • He stomped over and helped himself to some soup and waited for his anger to simmer down.

    The Ethical Engineer Henry Maxwell Dempsey
  • With that some several policemen run up, and I had to simmer down.

  • He tried his best to simmer down and go to sleep, but every few minutes hed boil over again.

    Friar Tuck Robert Alexander Wason
  • You've got to simmer down, and if you don't take to it paceable we'll see if we can't make you.

    Goldsmith's Friend Abroad Again Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)
  • It'll simmer down and work out, I expect, to a bad quarrel you had with Karen that's parted you.


    Anne Douglas Sedgwick
British Dictionary definitions for simmer down

simmer down

verb (adverb)
(intransitive) (informal) to grow calmer or quieter, as after intense rage or excitement
(transitive) to reduce the volume of (a liquid) by boiling slowly


to cook (food) gently at or just below the boiling point
(intransitive) to be about to break out in rage or excitement
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 down



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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Slang definitions & phrases for simmer down

simmer down

verb phrase

To become calm and quiet, esp after anger; cool it, lighten up • Often a command or a bit of advice (1871+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with simmer down

simmer down

Become calm after anger or excitement, as in Simmer down, Mary; I'm sure he'll make it up to you, or I haven't time to look at your report now, but I will when things have simmered down a bit. This idiom derives from simmer in the sense of “cook at low heat, below the boiling point.” [ Second half of 1800s ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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