Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Differences Between “Simple” and “Simpleton”

“Simple” vs “Simpleton”

“Simple” and “simpleton” are two words that seem to be related to each other because they share the first word, simple. However, there are differences between the two. One major difference is that “simple” is an adjective while “simpleton” is a noun.

The word “simple”, as an adjective, can also be used as an adverb. This can be done by dropping the letter “e” and replacing it with the letter “y.” “Simple,” functioning as an adjective, is a term that describes something. The term “simple” is used to describe or mean something is easy, not complicated, non-complex, basic, or plain. Depending on the context, it can also be used to describe things without additions, modifications, elaboration, ornamentation, or embellishment.

In addition, “simple” can change into three degrees of comparison like many adjectives. Following this notion, “simple” is the base form, “simpler” is the comparative form, while “simplest” is the superlative form.

The word is also used in other fields or disciplines. Chemistry has the term “simple machines” and “simple mixture.” Mathematics has “simple fractions” and “simple equations.”

As a word, “simple” is a Middle English word that came from the Latin “simplicis” or “simplex” and an Old French derivation “simple.”

On the other hand, “simpleton” is a noun. As a noun, it is used as a label for certain people. The term “simpleton” refers to a person who is considered a fool, silly, or stupid. This label is also given to someone who is lacking intelligence, good judgment, or sense. This label also applies for people who only understand simple things. More often, this word is used as an insult to the person regarding his characteristics.

Since “simpleton” is a noun, it only has a base form and no other forms. In addition, “simpleton” is a combination of two words–“simple” and “ton.” The last part, “ton” is a common ending in surnames, abbreviated from “town.” The word “ton” describes a person coming from a certain place. “Simpleton” was first used as a word in 1630.

“Simple” is a word with two syllables while “simpleton” has three syllables derived from two words.


  1. Both terms, “simple” and “simpleton,” have the same word in their structure, the word “simple.”
  2. The two words differ in their meaning and their usage. “Simple” is an adjective while “simpleton” is a noun.
  3. As an adjective, “simple” has few characteristics. It can be formed into an adverb, and it can undergo changes under the three degrees of comparison. “Simple” can become “simply,” an adverb, and as a base form can change into “simpler” and “simplest” as the comparative and superlative forms. Meanwhile, “simpleton” is a noun which means it cannot undergo any changes or turn into other parts of speech.
  4. The meaning of “simple” is described as “pure, plain, basic, non-complex or without complications.” Also, it can also mean “no additions or fundamentals,” depending on the context. On the other hand, “simpleton” means a person who is lacking in sense and intelligence. It could also mean a person who only understands basic things and not profound ideas.
  5. Another point of contrast is the structure of the word. “Simple,” as a word, is only one word with two syllables. Meanwhile, “simpleton” is comprised of two words and three syllables. In “simpleton,” the word “simple” is added with “ton,” a common ending on people’s surnames. “Ton” is a shortened form of “town” which usually is affixed in common name formation. The name of the place plus “town” gives the impression that the person is from that particular place and adopted the name as his surname.


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