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simmer


When liquids simmer on a stovetop, they bubble quietly without actually getting hot enough to boil.

So, figuratively, when people simmer, they keep on feeling bad emotions (like anger or frustration) for a long time, at a low or medium intensity, often in a hidden way.

And when bad things and bad feelings simmer, they keep on existing for a long time, at a low or medium intensity, often in a hidden way.

Lastly, "simmer down" is a slangy way to say "calm down."

Pronunciation:
SIM ur

Part of speech:
Usually a verb, the intransitive kind: "he simmers in anger," "her frustration simmers."
But it can also be a noun: "he's in a simmer," "the anger is still in a simmer."

Other forms:
simmered, simmering

How to use it:
"Simmer" usually has a negative tone. Use it to describe things, feelings, and people that seem like they might boil over or explode soon, yet they keep on stewing in a slow, tense, passive way.

Say that a person, a group, a place, or a bad feeling (like anger or frustration) is simmering: "the team simmered over their defeat," "resentment simmers in their neighborhood."

Or, a person can simmer with or in some emotion: "she's simmering with frustration," "he simmered all weekend in jealous anger."

Because simmering is less intense than boiling--or maybe because you often keep a lid on your food while you're letting it simmer--we can say that something simmers under or beneath something else.

And when you need an adjective, use "simmering;" talk about simmering insults or affronts, simmering tensions and arguments, simmering conflicts and wars, simmering anger and frustration, simmering questions and unknowns, etc.

examples:
Through all those years as caretakers, unpaid, unthanked, and unwilling, they simmered with resentment.

"[The television series The Americans] has always simmered and stewed in the emotional strain of its premise without ever actually exploding."
—Lili Loofbourow, Slate, 31 May 2018


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