English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Word for 'so simple you'd think it's obvious but it's not' .. for example I learned today that people who are easily distracted are more like to become addicted.

Is there a word for that?

share|improve this question
Seems similar to this question. There might be some useful answers. – Sam Mar 4 '12 at 5:21
This question reminds of the bit about the cat flap from Dirk Gently. – Sam Mar 4 '12 at 5:22
Welcome to the site, Randy. Unfortunately, this question does not meet our standards for single-word-requests. You need to describe the context where you need this word, what words you've already found and rejected (and why), what connotations you want (or want to avoid), and any other criteria that you're using to determine whether a word will work. Otherwise, we'll just be playing a guessing game. – Marthaª Mar 5 '12 at 19:48
Are you asking for the word that describes something that is "deceptively simple", or as some respondents have suggested, something that is "obvious in hindsight"? – user14070 Mar 7 '12 at 19:38

There may be no such single word, but you can say that such things are obvious in hindsight.

share|improve this answer
Also not a single word, a "bright idea" normally means something that's simple and obvious once it's been thought of. – FumbleFingers Mar 4 '12 at 17:11

A couple of suggestions, though neither is one word:

Blindingly obvious — something that is so plain to see that it is easily overlooked (Do I sheepishly admit that this definition is from UrbanDictionary.com?)

Oft-overlooked — something that should be thought of immediately, but is usually missed

share|improve this answer

You might call it a truism.

share|improve this answer
No 'truism' is something that is so obviously true that it need not be mentioned. But OP is asking for the opposite 'so simple you'd think it's obvious but it's <b>not</b>' – Wishwas Mar 4 '12 at 4:18

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.