Simple Sim"ple, a. [Compar. {Simpler}; superl. {Simplest}.] [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}.] 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. [1913 Webster]

2. Plain; unadorned; as, simple dress. ``Simple truth.'' --Spenser. ``His simple story.'' --Burns. [1913 Webster]

3. Mere; not other than; being only. [1913 Webster]

A medicine . . . whose simple touch Is powerful to araise King Pepin. --Shak. [1913 Webster]

4. Not given to artifice, stratagem, or duplicity; undesigning; sincere; true. [1913 Webster]

Full many fine men go upon my score, as simple as I stand here, and I trust them. --Marston. [1913 Webster]

Must thou trust Tradition's simple tongue? --Byron. [1913 Webster]

To be simple is to be great. --Emerson. [1913 Webster]

5. Artless in manner; unaffected; unconstrained; natural; inartificial;; straightforward. [1913 Webster]

In simple manners all the secret lies. --Young. [1913 Webster]

6. Direct; clear; intelligible; not abstruse or enigmatical; as, a simple statement; simple language. [1913 Webster]

7. Weak in intellect; not wise or sagacious; of but moderate understanding or attainments; hence, foolish; silly. ``You have simple wits.'' --Shak. [1913 Webster]

The simple believeth every word; but the prudent man looketh well to his going. --Prov. xiv. 15. [1913 Webster]

8. Not luxurious; without much variety; plain; as, a simple diet; a simple way of living. [1913 Webster]

Thy simple fare and all thy plain delights. --Cowper. [1913 Webster]

9. Humble; lowly; undistinguished. [1913 Webster]

A simple husbandman in garments gray. --Spenser. [1913 Webster]

Clergy and laity, male and female, gentle and simple made the fuel of the same fire. --Fuller. [1913 Webster]

10. (BOt.) Without subdivisions; entire; as, a simple stem; a simple leaf. [1913 Webster]

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. [1913 Webster]

Note: 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. [1913 Webster]

12. (Min.) Homogenous. [1913 Webster]

13. (Zo["o]l.) Consisting of a single individual or zooid; as, a simple ascidian; -- opposed to compound. [1913 Webster]

{Simple contract} (Law), any contract, whether verbal or written, which is not of record or under seal. --J. W. Smith. --Chitty.

{Simple equation} (Alg.), an equation containing but one unknown quantity, and that quantity only in the first degree.

{Simple eye} (Zo["o]l.), an eye having a single lens; -- opposed to {compound eye}.

{Simple interest}. See under {Interest}.

{Simple larceny}. (Law) See under {Larceny}.

{Simple obligation} (Rom. Law), an obligation which does not depend for its execution upon any event provided for by the parties, or is not to become void on the happening of any such event. --Burrill. [1913 Webster]

Syn: Single; uncompounded; unmingled; unmixed; mere; uncombined; elementary; plain; artless; sincere; harmless; undesigning; frank; open; unaffected; inartificial; unadorned; credulous; silly; foolish; shallow; unwise.

Usage: {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. [1913 Webster]

I am a simple woman, much too weak To oppose your cunning. --Shak. [1913 Webster]

He is the companion of the silliest people in their most silly pleasure; he is ready for every impertinent entertainment and diversion. --Law. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.


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