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simple Meaning, Definition & Usage

  1. noun any herbaceous plant having medicinal properties
  2. noun a person lacking intelligence or common sense
  3. adjective having few parts; not complex or complicated or involved
    • a simple problem
    • simple mechanisms
    • a simple design
    • a simple substance
  4. adjective satellite easy and not involved or complicated
    elementary; unproblematic; uncomplicated.
    • an elementary problem in statistics
    • elementary, my dear Watson
    • a simple game
    • found an uncomplicated solution to the problem
  5. adjective satellite apart from anything else; without additions or modifications
    bare; mere.
    • only the bare facts
    • shocked by the mere idea
    • the simple passage of time was enough
    • the simple truth
  6. adjective satellite exhibiting childlike simplicity and credulity
    wide-eyed; dewy-eyed; round-eyed; childlike.
    • childlike trust
    • dewy-eyed innocence
    • listened in round-eyed wonder
  7. adjective satellite lacking mental capacity and subtlety
    dim-witted; simple-minded.
  8. adjective (botany) of leaf shapes; of leaves having no divisions or subdivisions
  9. adjective satellite unornamented
    • a simple country schoolhouse
    • her black dress--simple to austerity

Sim"ple adjective
F., fr. L. simplus, or simplex, gen. simplicis. The first part of the Latin words is probably akin to E. same, and the sense, one, one and the same; cf. L. semel once, singuli one to each, single. Cg. Single, a., Same, a., and for the last part of the word cf. Double, Complex.
comparative Simpler ; superlative Simplest
  1. Single; not complex; not infolded or entangled; uncombined; not compounded; not blended with something else; not complicated; as, a simple substance; a simple idea; a simple sound; a simple machine; a simple problem; simple tasks.
  2. Plain; unadorned; as, simple dress. "Simple truth." Spenser. "His simple story." Burns.
  3. Mere; not other than; being only.
    A medicine . . . whose simple touch Is powerful to araise King Pepin. Shak.
  4. Not given to artifice, stratagem, or duplicity; undesigning; sincere; true.
    Full many fine men go upon my score, as simple as I stand here, and I trust them. Marston.
    Must thou trust Tradition's simple tongue? Byron.
    To be simple is to be great. Emerson.
  5. Artless in manner; unaffected; unconstrained; natural; inartificial;; straightforward.
    In simple manners all the secret lies. Young.
  6. Direct; clear; intelligible; not abstruse or enigmatical; as, a simple statement; simple language.
  7. Weak in intellect; not wise or sagacious; of but moderate understanding or attainments; hence, foolish; silly. "You have simple wits." Shak.
    The simple believeth every word; but the prudent man looketh well to his going. Prov. xiv. 15.
  8. Not luxurious; without much variety; plain; as, a simple diet; a simple way of living.
    Thy simple fare and all thy plain delights. Cowper.
  9. Humble; lowly; undistinguished.
    A simple husbandman in garments gray. Spenser.
    Clergy and laity, male and female, gentle and simple made the fuel of the same fire. Fuller.
  10. (BOt.) Without subdivisions; entire; as, a simple stem; a simple leaf.
  11. (Chem.) Not capable of being decomposed into anything more simple or ultimate by any means at present known; elementary; thus, atoms are regarded as simple bodies. Cf. Ultimate, a. ✍ A simple body is one that has not as yet been decomposed. There are indications that many of our simple elements are still compound bodies, though their actual decomposition into anything simpler may never be accomplished. see fundamental particle
  12. (Min.) Homogenous.
  13. (Zoöl.) Consisting of a single individual or zooid; as, a simple ascidian; -- opposed to compound. Syn. -- Single; uncompounded; unmingled; unmixed; mere; uncombined; elementary; plain; artless; sincere; harmless; undesigning; frank; open; unaffected; inartificial; unadorned; credulous; silly; foolish; shallow; unwise. -- Simple, Silly. One who is simple is sincere, unaffected, and inexperienced in duplicity, -- hence liable to be duped. A silly person is one who is ignorant or weak and also self-confident; hence, one who shows in speech and act a lack of good sense. Simplicity is incompatible with duplicity, artfulness, or vanity, while silliness is consistent with all three. Simplicity denotes lack of knowledge or of guile; silliness denotes want of judgment or right purpose, a defect of character as well as of education.
    I am a simple woman, much too weak To oppose your cunning. Shak.
    He is the companion of the silliest people in their most silly pleasure; he is ready for every impertinent entertainment and diversion. Law.
Sim"ple noun
F. See Simple, a.
  1. Something not mixed or compounded. "Compounded of many simples." Shak.
  2. (Med.) A medicinal plant; -- so called because each vegetable was supposed to possess its particular virtue, and therefore to constitute a simple remedy.
    What virtue is in this remedy lies in the naked simple itself as it comes over from the Indies. Sir W. Temple.
  3. (Weaving) (a) A drawloom. (b) A part of the apparatus for raising the heddles of a drawloom.
  4. (R. C. Ch.) A feast which is not a double or a semidouble.
Sim"ple intransitive verb
  1. To gather simples, or medicinal plants.
    As simpling on the flowery hills she [Circe] strayed. Garth.

Webster 1913