Definition of simple adjective from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈsɪmpl//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈsɪmpl//
    (simpler, simplest) You can also use more simple and most simple. Stupid
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  1. 1  not 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. 2  basic or plain without anything extra or unnecessary simple but elegant clothes We had a simple meal of soup and bread. The accommodation is 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. Synonymsplainsimple stark bare unequivocal These 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 fact 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 truth is that we just can’t afford it.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… It’s a plain matter of… Expressions with simple often suggest impatience with other people’s behaviour.stark (rather formal) used for describing an unpleasant fact or difference that is very obvious:The stark truth is that there is not enough money left. 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 has no good side to it at all.bare [only before noun] the most basic or simple, with nothing extra:She gave me only the bare facts of the case.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/​bare/​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 amoebas 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 mad—just a little simple. See related entries: Stupid
  12. grammar
  13. 7 used 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)
  14. see also simply
    Word OriginMiddle English: from Old French, from Latin simplus.Extra examples I found the work fairly simple. Is all this technology making our lives simpler? It is a brilliantly simple idea. The engine design is elegantly simple. The golden rule when creating your design is: keep it simple. The logic of the plan was devastatingly simple. Their approach is refreshingly simple and direct. This seemingly simple task ended up taking hours. When creating your design, keep it simple. a deceptively simple technique Give the necessary information but keep it simple. I had to do it for the simple reason that I couldn’t trust anyone else. I used a very simple method to obtain the answer. In some cases his argument is based on simple ignorance. It’s a simple matter of giving them enough to eat. It’s quite a simple machine. The best gowns are simple and elegant. The poem describes simple young soldiers in the Civil War. The simple truth is that we just can’t afford it. There is nothing simple about this movie, and nothing simple about the man who made it. These proposals are no more than simple common sense. They were simple country people. This machine is simple to use. We lost because we played badly. It’s as simple as that. a simple sentenceIdioms 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 American Dictionary entry: simple