Meaning of SIMPLE in English


sim ‧ ple S1 W1 /ˈsɪmp ə l/ BrE AmE adjective ( comparative simpler , superlative simplest )

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ simplicity , ↑ simplification , ↑ simpleton ; adverb : ↑ simply , ↑ simplistically ; adjective : ↑ simple , ↑ simplistic ; verb : ↑ simplify ]

[ Date: 1200-1300 ; Language: Old French ; Origin: 'plain, uncomplicated' , from Latin simplus , from sim- 'one' + -plus 'multiplied by' ]

1 . EASY not difficult or complicated to do or understand:

a simple but effective solution to the problem

There is no simple answer to this question.

I’m sure there’s a perfectly simple explanation.

simple to use/make/operate etc

Modern cameras are very simple to use.

relatively/fairly/quite etc simple

There are relatively simple exercises to build strength.

We want to keep the costumes as simple as possible.

We can’t pay people any more money until the company is more profitable. I’m afraid it’s as simple as that.

2 . PLAIN made in a plain style, without a lot of decoration or unnecessary things added:

She dressed with simple elegance.

simple but delicious food

a building constructed in a simple classic style

3 . ONLY [usually before noun] used to emphasize that only one thing is involved:

Completing the race is not just a simple matter of physical fitness.

The simple fact is, he’s not very good at his job.

Their motive was greed, pure and simple.

4 . NOT HAVING MANY PARTS made or built of only a few parts, and not having a complicated structure:

It’s a very simple machine.

They evolved from simple life forms that existed millions of years ago.

5 . ORDINARY honest and ordinary and not special in any way:

Joe was just a simple farmer.

6 . GRAMMAR technical simple tenses are not formed with an ↑ auxiliary such as ‘have’ or ‘be’

7 . the simple life life without too many possessions or modern machines, usually in the countryside

8 . STUPID [not before noun] someone who is simple is not very intelligent:

I’m afraid Luke’s a bit simple.

• • •


■ adverbs

▪ very/extremely/incredibly simple

I came up with a very simple answer to this problem.

▪ relatively/fairly/quite simple

The rules are quite simple.

▪ deceptively simple (=seeming simple, but in fact complicated or difficult)

It’s a deceptively simple idea, but it’s very difficult to put into practice.

▪ perfectly simple

Well? It’s a perfectly simple question.

■ phrases

▪ simple to use/make/operate etc

The machine is very simple to use.

▪ simple but effective

Any child’s behaviour can be improved by this simple but effective technique.

▪ keep something simple

Keep your explanation as simple as possible.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.