American English

Definition of simple adjective from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    (simpler, simplest) You can also use more simple and most simple.
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  1. 1not complicated; easy to understand or do synonym easy a simple solution The answer is really quite simple. This machine is very simple to use. We lost because we played badly. It's as simple as that. Give the necessary information but keep it simple.
  2. basic/plain
  3. 2basic or plain without anything extra or unnecessary simple but elegant clothes We had a simple meal of soup and bread. The accommodations are simple but spacious. simple pleasures, like reading and walking opposite fancy
  4. for emphasis
  5. 3used before a noun to emphasize that it is exactly that and nothing else Nobody wanted to believe the simple truth. It was a matter of simple survival. It's nothing to worry about—just a simple headache. I had to do it for the simple reason that (= because) I couldn't trust anyone else. Thesaurusplainsimple stark bare unequivocalThese words all describe statements, often about something unpleasant, that are very clear, not trying to hide anything, and not using more words than necessary.plain used for talking about a fact that other people may not like to hear; honest and direct in way that other people may not like:The plain truth is that nobody really knows.simple [only before noun] used for talking about a fact that other people may not like to hear; very obvious and not complicated by anything else:The simple facts of the case proved that she was wrong.plain or simple?When it is being used to emphasize facts that other people may not like to hear, plain is usually used in the expression the plain fact/truth is that…Simple can be used in this way too, but it can also be used in a wider variety of structures and collocations (such as reason and matter):The problem was due to the simple fact that… The problem was due to the plain fact that… for the plain reason that…Expressions with simple often suggest impatience with other people's behavior.stark (somewhat formal) used for describing an unpleasant fact or difference that is very obvious:He had to face the stark reality of the situation. The simple/plain truth may be something that some people do not want to hear, but it may be good for them to hear it anyway. The stark truth is something particularly unpleasant and painful to accept.bare [only before noun] the most basic or simple, with nothing extra:She gave me only a bare outline of the plan.unequivocal (formal) expressing your opinion or intention very clearly and firmly:The reply was an unequivocal “no.”Patterns the plain/simple/stark/bare/unequivocal truth a(n) plain/simple/stark/unequivocal fact/statement a(n) plain/simple/unequivocal answer
  6. with few parts
  7. 4[usually before noun] consisting of only a few parts; not complicated in structure simple forms of life, for example amebas a simple machine (grammar) a simple sentence (= one with only one verb)
  8. ordinary
  9. 5[only before noun] (of a person) ordinary; not special I'm a simple country girl.
  10. not intelligent
  11. 6[not usually before noun] (of a person) not very intelligent; not mentally normal He's not crazy—just a little simple.
  12. grammar
  13. 7used to describe the present or past tense of a verb that is formed without using an auxiliary verb, as in She loves him (= the simple present tense) or He arrived late (= the simple past tense) see also simply
  14. Idioms
    pure and simple
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    used after the noun that it refers to in order to emphasize that there is nothing but the thing you have just mentioned involved in something It's laziness, pure and simple.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: simple