Meaning of “simple” in the English Dictionary

"simple" in British English

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simpleadjective

uk /ˈsɪm.pəl/ us /ˈsɪm.pəl/

simple adjective (EASY)

A2 easy to understand or do; not difficult:

The instructions were written in simple English.
It's simple to find our house.
I want an explanation, but keep/make it simple.

More examples

  • The scheme is simple and cheap to operate.
  • It's a simple dish to prepare, consisting mainly of rice and vegetables.
  • The plan seemed deceptively simple .
  • Encyclopedias on CD-ROM include sound, illustrations and simple animations.
  • Modification of the engine to run on lead-free fuel is fairly simple.

simple adjective (IMPORTANT)

B2 [ before noun ] used to describe the one important fact, truth, etc.:

We didn't go swimming for the simple reason that the water was too cold.

More examples

  • I shouted at her for the simple reason that she was rude.
  • We were late for the simple reason that we overslept.

(Definition of “simple” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"simple" in American English

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simpleadjective

us /ˈsɪm·pəl/

simple adjective (PLAIN)

[ -er/-est only ] without unnecessary or extra things or decorations; plain:

a simple black dress
It’s a simple Boston lettuce salad.

simple adjective (EASY)

[ -er/-est only ] easy to understand or do; not difficult or complicated:

The recipe is very simple.
There’s a simple solution if you don’t like what’s on TV – change the channel.

simple adjective (CONSIDERED ALONE)

[ not gradable ] without considering or including anything else:

The simple fact is the fee is high because the rights are valuable.

simple adjective (COMMON)

[ -er/-est only ] common or ordinary:

I’ve got simple tastes, and I’m too old and cranky to change.

simple adjective (FOOLISH)

[ -er/-est only ] dated foolish; easily deceived:

He’s a very simple young man.

(Definition of “simple” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)