Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial, Acronyms, Idioms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.


adj. sim·pler, sim·plest
a. Having few parts or features; not complicated or elaborate: a house with a simple floor plan.
b. Easy to understand, do, or carry out: a simple set of instructions; a simple chore. See Synonyms at easy.
c. Having or composed of only one thing, element, or part: a simple chemical substance.
d. Being without additions or modifications; mere: a simple "yes" or "no."
e. Biology Having no divisions or branches; not compound: a simple leaf; a simple eye or lens.
f. Music Being without figuration or elaboration: a simple tone.
a. Having little or no ornamentation; not embellished or adorned: a simple dress. See Synonyms at plain.
b. Not characterized by luxury or elaborate commitments: simple living.
a. Not pretentious, guileful, or deceitful; humble or sincere: a simple child; told us about his achievement in the simplest manner.
b. Having or showing little intelligence, education, or experience: simple people who have trouble understanding health regulations. See Synonyms at naive.
c. Lowly in condition or rank: a simple woodcutter.
n. Archaic
A medicinal plant or the medicine obtained from it.

[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin simplus; see sem- in Indo-European roots and from simplex; see simplex.]

sim′ple·ness n.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
The furniture could not have been much simpler: a very old chair, a rickety old bed, and a tumble-down table.
For this reason I have chosen one of his simpler poems as a specimen.
at $20.00 and in somewhat simpler form by Grosset and Dunlap at $12.00
There are, of course, hundreds and hundreds more, but these will do for specimens of the simpler rulings.
But would it not be simpler for you to write him a few words in black and white?"
Send me word by telegraph whether you would like Truffles again, or whether you would prefer something simpler and lighter--say that incomparable French dish, Pig's Eyelids and Tamarinds.
The penalty paid by the stupid man is simpler, easier.
One would have thought that nothing could be simpler than for him, a man of good family, rather rich than poor, and thirty-two years old, to make the young Princess Shtcherbatskaya an offer of marriage; in all likelihood he would at once have been looked upon as a good match.
Some private individual -- a Pentagon whose name is variously reported -- having casually discovered the constituents of the simpler colours and a rudimentary method of painting, is said to have begun decorating first his house, then his slaves, then his Father, his Sons, and Grandsons, lastly himself.
My explanation of the matter is a much simpler one.
The rules for classifying will no doubt become simpler when we have a definite object in view.
Cutter could have got home a day earlier than his wife by any one of a dozen simpler devices; he could have left her in the Omaha hotel, and said he was going on to Chicago for a few days.