simple, and then there's
austere: something stripped of decoration or any hint of luxury, like a room with just a mattress on the floor and bare walls. Not a prison cell, though:
austere doesn't connote punishment, but either hard times or a conscious choice to make do with little.
freedom from difficulty or hardship or effort
Ease comes from the Old French
aise, meaning "opportunity" or "freedom." The notion of freedom carried over into English, specifically freedom from pain, discomfort, or difficulty. We also use the opposite French term,
malaise, as a synonym for
uneasy: a feeling of discomfort or lack of well-being.
easy and not involved or complicated
Elements are the building blocks of the universe. As such, they're the basis for everything we see and do. So something
elementary is foundational, or entry-level: basic.
arrived at without due care or effort; lacking depth
Not only was this a
attempt at armchair activism, it actively disrupted the hashtag #blacklivesmatter, which protesters, reporters and activists were using to collate news about police violence against protesters.The Guardian (Jun 3, 2020)
facilis, meaning "easy," became the French
facile. In English, though, it has a negative meaning, referring to something done quickly or carelessly.
marked by meekness or modesty; not arrogant or prideful
Humus is Latin for "ground" or "earth," and we still use it in English to refer to a particular type of nutrient-rich soil. Based on that root,
humilem means "low," "lowly," or "insignificant;" it's where we get
Humble comes from the same source, and refers to a person who is by nature meek and modest, or one who has been brought down by shame, or a lifestyle or abode that lacks luxury of any sort.
limited in size or scope
A number of the words on this list can be applied to people as well as things, ideas, or spaces.
Modest comes from the Latin
modestus, meaning "unassuming," "reserved," or "well-behaved," and it still carries those meanings when applied to a person. If you're talking about a budget, though, or an apartment, then
modest describes a fairly low number or a small, functional dwelling.
unprocessed or manufactured using simple processes
An over-ripe banana is a parent’s best friend, its concentrated
sugars sweetening everything from breakfast to pudding.The Guardian (Jun 19, 2020)
The 28-year-old model took to Twitter on Tuesday to express her disdain for the #BlackOutTuesday trend on social media in which people post a simple,
black square.Fox News (Jun 3, 2020)
Plain comes from the Latin
planum, meaning a flat surface, which is why the huge grasslands of the Midwest are called the Great Plains. Something unadorned, unremarkable, or featureless is
being undiluted or unmixed with extraneous material
pure refers to things being at their best in their simplest state: the way they occur in nature.
having few parts; not complex or complicated or involved
recipe is just 15 minutes in the making – much quicker than your average fruit jam – and flavoured with vanilla, lime and dark rum.The Guardian (Jun 19, 2020)
simplex means "alone," "plain," or "basic." That became
simple in French, which English borrowed.
the quality of being uncomplicated
This version would be
itself: thin slices of toasted day-old baguette or ciabatta, rubbed with garlic, smeared with a dab of chopped sun-dried tomato and topped with a bit of anchovy.New York Times (Jun 8, 2020)
characterized by extreme and misleading lack of complexity
Set in a series of underwater worlds, there is nothing
about the game design.Salon (May 15, 2020)
What a difference a suffix makes! Where
simplicity both usually have positive connotations,
simplistic refers to something that's so dumbed down or incomplete that it's useless. It's quite similar to
facile, seen above.
lacking embellishment or ornamentation
spare in this sense refers to something — often an interior — with few furnishings or decorations. So a
spare room can mean one of two things: either a guest bedroom, where
spare means "extra," or a lightly furnished and minimally decorated space.
marked by simplicity, frugality, or self-denial
Sparta is a city in Greece.
Spartan warriors were famous for their toughness and ability to make do with very little. So a life defined by discipline and a lack of luxury or comfort can be called
spartan, as can a living space like the one described up top in the note for