I'm looking for a word that describes the simplest, most complete theory: concise, elegant, complete

  • Do you mean the simplest (etc) out of those that are on offer, or one which is a simple (etc) as can be? If the latter then, since you seem to be asking for a word for a theory that is the best in all regards, you might consider "ideal" or "perfect".
    – Rupe
    Jun 3, 2014 at 15:11
  • 1
    I don't see why 'elegant' wouldn't suffice. For example, I'd describe the theory of Evolution (which is simple, concise, and complete) as elegant.
    – njboot
    Jun 3, 2014 at 15:14
  • The simplest theory is not necessarily the most complete one. Nor is the simplest (or the most complete) theory necessarily particularly concise or elegant. Which one are you looking for? Jun 3, 2014 at 15:18
  • I agree with @rupe something which possess all positive qualities sought after in its category is "ideal" or "perfect"
    – P. O.
    Jun 3, 2014 at 15:27
  • Occam's stubble? ; ) Jun 3, 2014 at 17:34

4 Answers 4


Consider succinct

marked by brevity and clarity; concise

The term gem is sometimes used in a similar fashion

a person or thing held to be a perfect example; treasure

This tends to be used when something is simple in its elegance. Jewel may laso be used in a similar, somewhat idiomatic manner.



an elegant theory

might suit you. There does not seem to be necessary to look for a more complicated word. Some definitions relating to "elegant" :

-(of theories, solutions, computer programs, etc.) gracefully concise and simple; admirably succinct.

-cleverly simple; ingenious: an elegant solution to a problem.

-an elegant mathematical solution--simple and precise and lucid

  • 1
    A more complex word might itself be inelegant.
    – Wlerin
    Jun 3, 2014 at 21:03

"Comprehensive" might be what you're looking for. Or perhaps "precise".


In cases where you are not wanting to comment on the validity/beauty of the theory, I would suggest 'parsimonious' because it suggests smallness as a desirable attribute.

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