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simple +‎ -istic


simplistic (comparative more simplistic, superlative most simplistic)

  1. Overly simple.
  2. In a manner that simplifies a concept or issue so that its nuance and complexity are lost or important details are overlooked.
    • Allen Suess Whiting:
      (Mao's) reliance on simplistic Soviet interpretations was reflected in his dismissal of Hitler as "a mere will-less puppet of the reactionary capitalists."[1]
    • Jacques Lambert:
      The cliché is not untrue, but, like all generalisations, it distorts reality so that overly simplistic judgments have to be tempered by a few qualifications.[2]
  3. (obsolete) Of or relating to simples, or medicinal herbs.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Wilkinson to this entry?)

Usage notes[edit]

  • Simplistic is not to be conflated with simple; simplistic implies simplicity that distorts the topic, whereas simple does not. Degrees of comparison such as "more simplistic" and expressions such as "overly simplistic" accordingly are in some sense tautological and some speakers avoid them.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ China Crosses the Yalu: The Decision to Enter the Korean War[1], Stanford University Press, 1968, →ISBN, pages 211–
  2. ^ Jacques Lambert (1967) Latin America: Social Structure and Political Institutions[2], University of California Press, →ISBN, pages 107–