adjective, sim·pler, sim·plest.


Nearby words

  1. simoom,
  2. simp,
  3. simpatico,
  4. simper,
  5. simpering,
  6. simple absence,
  7. simple algebraic extension,
  8. simple arc,
  9. simple carbohydrate,
  10. simple closed curve

Origin of simple

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
Can be confusedsimple simplified simplistic (see confusables note at simplistic)

Synonym study

10. See homely.

Confusables note Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for simple

British Dictionary definitions for simple



not involved or complicated; easy to understand or doa simple problem
plain; unadorneda simple dress
consisting of one element or part only; not combined or complexa simple mechanism
unaffected or unpretentiousalthough he became famous, he remained a simple and well-liked man
not guileful; sincere; frankher simple explanation was readily accepted
of humble condition or rankthe peasant was of simple birth
weak in intelligence; feeble-minded
(prenominal) without additions or modifications; merethe witness told the simple truth
(prenomina) ordinary or straightforwarda simple case of mumps
chem (of a substance or material) consisting of only one chemical compound rather than a mixture of compounds
  1. (of a fraction) containing only integers
  2. (of an equation) containing variables to the first power only; linear
  3. (of a root of an equation) occurring only once; not multiple
  1. not divided into partsa simple leaf; a simple eye
  2. formed from only one ovarysimple fruit
music relating to or denoting a time where the number of beats per bar may be two, three, or four

noun archaic

a simpleton; fool
a plant, esp a herbaceous plant, having medicinal properties
Derived Formssimpleness, noun

Word Origin for simple

C13: via Old French from Latin simplex plain

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

Word Origin and History for simple


Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with simple


see pure and simple.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.