English edit

Etymology edit

From Middle English symply, symplely; equivalent to simple +‎ -ly, with *-lely simplified to -ly by haplology.

Pronunciation edit

  • IPA(key): /ˈsɪmpli/
  • (file)

Adverb edit

simply (comparative more simply, superlative most simply)

  1. (manner) In a simple way or state; considered in or by itself; without addition; alone.
    Antonym: complexly
  2. (manner) Plainly; without art or subtlety
    Synonyms: clearly, obviously, unquestionably
  3. (manner) Foolishly; stupidly.
    • 1791, Charlotte Smith, Celestina, Broadview, published 2004, page 179:
      Mrs. Thorold had told her sons that a young lady was visiting at the house, whose history she had given them in short hand, describing her as a dependent on the late Mrs. Willoughby, whom her son had very simply intended to marry at Alvestone [] .
  4. (focus) Merely; solely.
    Synonyms: just; see also Thesaurus:merely
    I was simply asking a question.
    • 2013 June 1, “Ideas coming down the track”, in The Economist, volume 407, number 8838, page 13 (Technology Quarterly):
      A “moving platform” scheme [] is more technologically ambitious than maglev trains even though it relies on conventional rails. [] This set-up solves several problems […]. Stopping high-speed trains wastes energy and time, so why not simply slow them down enough for a moving platform to pull alongside?
    • 2019 May 21, Dylan Curran, “Facial recognition will soon be everywhere. Are we prepared?”, in The Guardian[1]:
      Rather than scanning a boarding pass or handing over a passport, you simply stare into a camera and you’re verified.
  5. (degree) absolutely, positively.
    Synonyms: very; see also Thesaurus:very
    That was a simply wonderful dessert.
    • 1972, Al Green (lyrics and music), “Simply Beautiful”:
      What about the way you love me? / And the way you squeeze me? / Simply beautiful
  6. Frankly.
    Synonyms: honestly; see also Thesaurus:actually
    Simply, he just fired you.

Derived terms edit

Related terms edit

Translations edit

Anagrams edit

Middle English edit

Adverb edit


  1. Alternative form of symply (adverb)