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.
A medicinal plant or the medicine obtained from it.
[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin simplus; see sem-1 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots and from simplex; see SIMPLEX.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.