This is what I'm trying to express

[Foo] can be simplifiedly characterised as [bar].

However I am unable to find references for such as word as simplifiedly. What I want to say is that the following characterisation as [bar] is to be understood as being simplified for the sake of explaining [Foo] in the first place.

How would you phrase it? I would prefer if the structure of the sentence would remain unchanged. But if there is no such word maybe this can be restructured without being too verbose.

Edit: It's not a question of rhythm or aesthetics, it's a question of meaning. I'm not trying to say that the characterisation I'm making is simple to derive, I'm trying to say that I'm making a characterisation that is simplifying the matter of [Foo], which is in fact a bit more general/complicated than its representation as [bar] might suggest.

For me "simply" has the taste of what I'm not trying to say (according to the above paragraph). Regarding the suggested "more simply", I have no gut feeling and will have to trust you as experts.

10 Answers 10


Gnawme suggests simply, which is good, but means "in a simple manner", not "in a simplified (=made more simple than it was previously) manner". For that, I'd suggest more simply.

[Foo] can be more simply characterised as [bar].

Edit, in response to the edit to the question:

  1. I'm no expert.
  2. Perhaps can as an oversimplification be characterised or can in an oversimplification be characterised.
  • Actually, MW defines simply as "in a straightforward manner," but I do like your suggestion. For the purpose of the OP's exposition, [foo] is being presented as a more simple conception of [bar].
    – Gnawme
    Dec 7, 2011 at 22:18
  • Would you kindly check the edit in my original question?
    – bitmask
    Dec 7, 2011 at 22:28
  • I'll drop the "over": "as a simplification" seems about right (even though it's not as catchy as my home-made word). Thanks :)
    – bitmask
    Dec 7, 2011 at 22:42

Simply would be the most immediate adverb. Others such as: Commonly, reductively, easily, naturally, straightforwardly, conveniently, efficiently, fluently, quickly, might also work. By the sound of it, you are looking for the adverb simply; however, for the sake of rhythm and aesthetics, you seem to be looking for a word with more syllables. Instead, this simple change seems to do the trick:

[Foo] can be more simply characterised as [bar].

  • Would you kindly check the edit in my original question?
    – bitmask
    Dec 7, 2011 at 22:27
  • To simplify something can have either of the meanings make simpler or make simple (though the second sense always implies [in the strict mathematical sense] the first). DAWR's paraphrase is fine for the first sense; the second sense needs something like: 'Put simply: [Foo] can be characterised as [bar].' or 'In simple terms, [Foo] can be characterised as [bar].' Nov 21, 2012 at 21:59

Perhaps the word you're looking for is simplistically, if you're trying to suggest intentional oversimplification.

  • That has a bitter after-taste of "oversimplified" which I'd like to avoid :)
    – bitmask
    Dec 7, 2011 at 22:29
  • @bitmask: Sure thing, it'd be great to see an actual example of the kind of content you're dealing with. Dec 7, 2011 at 22:42
  • I didn't want to obfuscate the matter with computer science gobbledygook, but if you ask for it: "[Foo]" expands to "The input model of non-distributed applications" and "[bar]" expands to "a Halting Turing Machine". Happy? :)
    – bitmask
    Dec 7, 2011 at 23:11
  • @bitmask, thanks, the context does help I think. (And I have a BE (Comp) so that's not entirely Greek to me.) Dec 7, 2011 at 23:23
  • 2
    @bitmask I would most definitely use effectively in this circumstance.
    – Evan
    Dec 8, 2011 at 2:02

While simply would be correct, it may be slightly misleading, because it can also mean something like "just", as in that is simply not correct. Simplifiedly sounds a bit unwieldy. You could simply say it like this:

The policy of the Roman Senate towards Carthage between the wars can be simplified as containment. In so doing, historians amplify the contrast with later policies.


[I modified my answer after seeing your edit.]

To capture what you're after in your exposition, you need to modify "simplified:"

[Foo] can be conceptually simplified as [bar].


For your example, I usually use the word effectively

[Foo] can be effectively characterised as [bar].

I don't think I'd generalize effectively as the adverb form of simplified, but I believe it works well in this case.

  • +1. Given the specific example @bitmask gave in the comments, this is definitely how I'd say it.
    – Lynn
    Dec 8, 2011 at 2:13

The difficulty seems to be arising from at least two things here.

  1. Excessive modification from the root.

    simple -> simplify -> simplified -> ... [a derivation to far from the root for comfort (of the ordinary reader)]<

  2. The choice of the word simple itself, which is insufficient to express your intention in the given context.

[Edit-1 per OP's edit seen just now]

... can, in simple terms, be characterised as ...

would be a more direct way to express it according to OP's intentions.

  • 3
    and to think all this is about simplification of something! :)
    – Kris
    Dec 8, 2011 at 6:24

I'd opt for a word like essentially or roughly, which imply that the answer is inexact but effective.

  • Seems to me the question was seeking greater impact by greater - more punctilious - exactness. It's as if the adverb coinage choice was meant to transcend simplified's merely basic, rough, or effective meanings. Maybe.
    – lex
    Nov 21, 2012 at 21:34

The essence of [foo] is [bar]. [Foo] is essentially [bar]. [Foo] can be distilled as [bar]. In simplified terms [foo] is [bar]. [Foo] is really [bar].


Looking at your stated aim, it seems that juxtaposition of implied opposites, in the abstract so to speak--as in overstatement by understatement (or, depending on point of few, its converse)--might give the sentence your intended prosaic impact:

[Foo] can be simplifiedly characterised as [bar].


Simplistically speaking, [Foo] can (or could) be characterised as [bar].


The unspoken implication that way is that simply (or other mere undersimplifiedifications) is not quite enough, not quite sufficiently adroit, simplification.

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