Meaning of SIMPLE in English



simple/not complicated

1. when methods, systems, explanations, or words are not complicated

2. when machines or tools are not complicated

3. to make something simpler

4. to make something seem simpler than it really is


5. not having a lot of decoration or things added




see also



1. when methods, systems, explanations, or words are not complicated

▷ simple /ˈsɪmp ə l/ [adjective]

not complicated, and therefore easy to understand :

▪ Speak slowly and use simple words so that everyone understands.

▪ His children find European numbering simpler than the Chinese system.

▪ There must be a perfectly simple explanation.

be simple to do something

▪ Many vegetarian meals are delicious and simple to prepare.

keep/make something simple

▪ The secret of successful dinner parties? Keep it simple.

simply [adverb]

▪ Try to express your ideas more simply.

simplicity /sɪmˈplɪsɪti, sɪmˈplɪsəti/ [uncountable noun]

when something is easy to use or understand :

▪ The simplicity of the system is its great advantage.

▪ For simplicity, let’s pretend for a moment that the Earth does not revolve.

▷ straightforward /ˌstreɪtˈfɔːʳwəʳd◂/ [adjective]

simple - use this especially about explanations, instructions, and methods which contain nothing difficult or unexpected :

▪ The new networking system is fairly straightforward - you shouldn’t have any problems.

▪ There are two straightforward ways of achieving this result.

▷ uncomplicated /ʌnˈkɒmplɪkeɪtəd, ʌnˈkɒmpləkeɪtədǁ-ˈkɑːm-/ [adjective]

simple and without any unnecessary features that could cause problems or confuse you :

▪ Tom can now carry out uncomplicated tasks without help.

▪ There are several basic techniques to learn, but they are uncomplicated enough to be mastered in one session.

▷ unsophisticated /ˌʌnsəˈfɪstɪkeɪtəd◂, ˌʌnsəˈfɪstəkeɪtəd◂/ [adjective]

a method or process that is unsophisticated is very simple compared to the most modern ones :

▪ It may be a pretty unsophisticated system, but it has worked well for over fifty years.

▪ In comparison with modern methods, it seems an incredibly slow and unsophisticated way of making cars.

▷ elementary /ˌelɪˈment ə ri◂, ˌeləˈment ə ri◂/ [adjective]

needing only simple skills or knowledge to do or understand :

▪ She had difficulty with even the most elementary tasks.

▪ an elementary course in word-processing

▷ plain English /pleɪn ˈɪŋglɪʃ/ [uncountable noun]

English that people can easily understand, without any difficult or confusing words :

in plain English

▪ I wish they’d write in plain English, instead of all this business jargon.

▪ ‘The theory of informed consent’? What does that mean, in plain English?

▷ rough and ready /ˌrʌf ən ˈredi/ [adjective phrase]

a rough and ready system, calculation, way of doing something etc uses a quick, simple method but ignores small details and therefore does not produce a completely perfect result :

▪ Here are my calculations. They’re a little rough and ready as yet, but you’ll get a general idea.

▪ Justice was administered in a rough and ready fashion, without using courts or juries.

2. when machines or tools are not complicated

▷ simple /ˈsɪmp ə l/ [adjective]

a simple machine, tool etc has only a few parts and is not made in a complicated way :

▪ The tribes of Central New Guinea use very simple tools such as hammers and axes.

▪ Very young children will be satisfied with the simplest of toys.

▷ basic /ˈbeɪsɪk/ [adjective]

basic machines, equipment, or tools only have the most necessary features and you cannot use them to do unusual, difficult, or complicated things :

▪ The hospital lacked even the most basic medical equipment.

▪ It’s only six years old, but already my home PC is basic compared to today’s models.

▷ crude /kruːd/ [adjective]

something that is crude has been made or done in a simple way, without paying much attention to unnecessary details or features :

▪ The men started gathering wood to construct a crude shelter.

▪ The earliest skis were crude, consisting of short boards covered in fur skins.

a crude form of something

▪ Babbage’s great calculating machine was a crude form of computer.

crudely [adverb]

▪ They lived in crudely built huts.

▷ primitive /ˈprɪmɪtɪv, ˈprɪmətɪv/ [adjective]

a tool or machine that is primitive is very simple when compared to modern tools or machines that do the same job, and is not as good :

▪ In those days, dental equipment was primitive and a visit to the dentist was a painful experience.

▪ It is a primitive but effective device for raising water from a well.

▪ a primitive design

▷ rudimentary /ˌruːdɪˈment ə ri◂, ˌruːdəˈment ə ri◂/ [adjective]

tools, machines etc that are rudimentary are very simple and are only able to do very simple jobs :

▪ The tools that the ancient Egyptians used to build their temples were extremely rudimentary.

▪ The system has a rudimentary Internet browser, but it’s very slow.

▷ unsophisticated /ˌʌnsəˈfɪstɪkeɪtəd◂, ˌʌnsəˈfɪstəkeɪtəd◂/ [adjective]

tools or machines that are unsophisticated do not have many of the features that more modern or more advanced tools or machines have :

▪ They still use some relatively unsophisticated machinery.

▪ It may look unsophisticated compared to modern high-tech cameras, but it produces fantastic pictures.

▷ low-tech /ˌləʊ ˈtek◂/ [adjective]

equipment, vehicles, machines etc that are low-tech have a very simple design but this is often seen as an advantage because they are cheaper or more practical :

▪ The company manufactures the low-tech parts in Mexico, and then assembles here.

▪ He uses low-tech theatrical devices to great effect.

3. to make something simpler

▷ simplify /ˈsɪmplɪfaɪ, ˈsɪmpləfaɪ/ [transitive verb]

to make something simpler and easier to use or understand :

▪ The government is planning to simplify the tax laws.

▪ These gadgets do simplify food preparation, but are they really worth the money?

simplified [adjective]

something that is simplified has been made easier to understand :

▪ The text uses simplified Chinese characters.

▪ a simplified form of worship

▷ streamline /ˈstriːmlaɪn/ [transitive verb]

to make a method or system simpler, quicker, and usually cheaper - used especially in business contexts :

▪ The new computer has made it possible to streamline our data processing operations.

▪ The Cut and Paste command can be used to streamline the process of inserting information.

streamlined [adjective]

▪ There will be no layoffs, thanks to streamlined administration and government subsidies.

4. to make something seem simpler than it really is

▷ oversimplify /ˌəʊvəʳˈsɪmplɪfaɪ, ˌəʊvəʳˈsɪmpləfaɪ/ [intransitive/transitive verb]

▪ There’s a tendency in news reports to oversimplify complex issues to make the news more entertaining.

▪ I know I’m oversimplifying, but these are the values on which I try to base my decisions.

oversimplified [adjective]

▪ We were presented with a vastly oversimplified version of events.

oversimplification /ˌəʊvəʳˌsɪmplɪfəˈkeɪʃ ə n, ˌəʊvəʳˌsɪmpləfəˈkeɪʃ ə n/ [countable/uncountable noun]

▪ This statement is an oversimplification, but it contains an element of truth.

▷ simplistic /sɪmˈplɪstɪk/ [adjective]

an opinion or way of thinking about something that is simplistic treats difficult things in too simple a way :

▪ a simplistic ‘more is better’ philosophy

be simplistic to

▪ His critics say it may have been overly simplistic to use only two experimental methods.

▪ It would be simplistic to suggest that the Bible promotes male domination.

▷ generalize also generalise British /ˈdʒen ə rəlaɪz/ [intransitive verb]

to say that something is true of all the people in a group simply because it is true of some of them :

▪ I know I shouldn’t generalize, but I do think men find it hard to show their feelings.

generalize from

▪ The study group was very small, and it’s hard to generalize from just a few cases.

generalize about

▪ The polls show that it is difficult to generalize about which issues were most important to voters.

generalization /ˌdʒen ə rəlaɪˈzeɪʃ ə nǁ-lə-/ [countable/uncountable noun]

▪ I know it’s a generalization, but you must admit that bands these days have less originality than in the past.

▷ see things in black and white /ˌsiː θɪŋz ɪn ˌblæk ən ˈwaɪt/ [verb phrase]

if someone sees things in black and white, they tend to judge people in a very simple way as being either completely bad or completely good, completely right or completely wrong etc :

▪ My son sees life in black and white. To him, the world is full of greedy capitalists and underpaid workers.

5. not having a lot of decoration or things added

▷ simple /ˈsɪmp ə l/ [adjective]


food, clothes, or designs do not have a lot of decoration or unnecessary things added, but they are usually attractive or enjoyable :

▪ She wore a simple black dress.

▪ The meal was simple, but delicious.

▷ plain /pleɪn/ [adjective]


food, clothes, or designs do not have anything added or any decoration, and may be a little boring :

▪ He put the letter in a plain brown envelope.

▪ Do you have any plain white shirts?

▪ The chapel was a small, plain, white-washed building.

▷ basic /ˈbeɪsɪk/ [adjective]


food, rooms, or designs only have the necessary features, and do not include things that make them more comfortable, more attractive etc :

▪ Some of the hotels in the mountains are pretty basic.

▪ The basic model costs £30,000, which includes insurance and car tax.

▪ basic cooking utensils

▷ austere /ɔːˈstɪəʳ, ɒ-ǁɔː-/ [adjective]

a room or building that is austere is not decorated, has very little and very plain furniture, and is usually uncomfortable :

▪ Students ate in an austere hall built by New England Puritans.

▪ The crematorium chapel was cold and austere.

austerity /ɔːˈsterɪti, ɔːˈsterəti, ɒ-ǁɔː-/ [uncountable noun]

▪ Protestant churches often have an appearance of extreme simplicity and austerity.

▷ spartan /ˈspɑːʳtn/ [adjective]

spartan conditions or ways of living are simple and without any comfort :

▪ The accommodation is pretty spartan, so take extra blankets and bedding.

▪ It was a spartan existence, with no running water or electricity.

▷ stark /stɑːʳk/ [adjective]

something, especially a room, that has a stark appearance has no decorations and looks uncomfortable :

▪ The waiting room was stark, with hard, stiff chairs and lit by a single lightbulb.

▪ stark chrome furniture

▷ simplicity /sɪmˈplɪsɪti, sɪmˈplɪsəti/ [uncountable noun]

the attractive quality of being simple, and not having a lot of decoration or things added :

▪ The jacket follows the lines of the body with graceful simplicity.

▪ Van Gogh was attracted to the beauty and simplicity of a common table or kitchen chair.

▷ nothing fancy /ˌnʌθɪŋ ˈfænsi/ [adjective phrase] informal

plain or simple with nothing special or unnecessary added :

▪ The Lodge is nothing fancy -- just a row of cottages huddled on the side of a hill overlooking the sea.

▪ This was his favourite meal. Nothing fancy, just steak and salad.

▷ no-frills /ˌnəʊ ˈfrɪlz◂/ [adjective only before noun]

a no-frills shop, restaurant, or service provides only the things that you really need and nothing else :

▪ The meeting was held at a no-frills hotel 30 minutes from corporate headquarters.

▪ Try the smaller, no-frills airlines for cheap late flights.

Longman Activator English vocab.      Английский словарь Longman активатор .