complain

verb
com·​plain | \ kəm-ˈplān How to pronounce complain (audio) \
complained; complaining; complains

Definition of complain

intransitive verb

1 : to express grief, pain, or discontent complaining about the weather
2 : to make a formal accusation or charge He threatened to complain of him to the captain.

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from complain

complainer noun
complainingly \ kəm-​ˈplā-​niŋ-​lē How to pronounce complainingly (audio) \ adverb

Examples of complain in a Sentence

He works hard but he never complains. If you're unhappy with the service, you should complain to the manager. The students complained that the test was too hard. “These shoes are too tight,” he complained.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web And many employees, mostly lower-wage and minority workers in essential jobs, are calling lawyers to complain about the waivers. Harris Meyer, SFChronicle.com, "Employers require coronavirus liability waivers as conflict mounts over workplace safety," 31 July 2020 Someone called police to complain about the fireworks. Bob Sandrick, cleveland, "Man with eight baggies of marijuana crashes car; police set man straight on fireworks law: Brook Park police blotter," 11 July 2020 The surge of applications has created some odd problems for people, beyond the many thousands who complain of waiting weeks to get benefits. Ryan Randazzo, The Arizona Republic, "Unemployment fraud a growing issue in Arizona, slowing payments to those in need," 1 July 2020 Most of the rain stays to our east, giving the Atlantic beaches something to complain about. David Streit, Washington Post, "D.C.-area forecast: Spotty showers today, but otherwise nice weather through Friday; steamy this weekend," 25 June 2020 And yet, they’re expected to turn the other cheek and not complain or speak out. Dan Wolken, USA TODAY, "Opinion: As America burns amid protests after George Floyd's death, it's time to quit telling athletes to 'stick to sports'," 1 June 2020 Kids complain my hands always smell like peanut butter!!! Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, The New Yorker, "Many a Little Makes," 12 July 2020 But local health officials complain the effort has been beset with computer glitches, inadequate training and poor communication. USA TODAY, "Post-rally surge, PPE stocks, antibody study: News from around our 50 states," 11 July 2020 And even the Kremlin’s critics in the expert community now complain that U.S. intelligence about Russia has become completely detached from reality. Fred Weir, The Christian Science Monitor, "For Russian experts, Taliban bounty report just doesn’t make sense," 9 July 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'complain.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of complain

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for complain

Middle English compleynen, from Anglo-French compleindre, from Vulgar Latin *complangere, from Latin com- + plangere to lament — more at plaint

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about complain

Time Traveler for complain

Time Traveler

The first known use of complain was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for complain

Last Updated

5 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Complain.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/complain. Accessed 8 Aug. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for complain

complain

verb
How to pronounce complain (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of complain

: to say or write that you are unhappy, sick, uncomfortable, etc., or that you do not like something
: to say (something that expresses annoyance or unhappiness)

complain

verb
com·​plain | \ kəm-ˈplān How to pronounce complain (audio) \
complained; complaining

Kids Definition of complain

: to express grief, pain, or discontent : find fault

Other Words from complain

complainer noun
com·​plain | \ kəm-ˈplān How to pronounce complain (audio) \

Medical Definition of complain

: to speak of one's illness or symptoms the patient visited the office complaining of weight loss

Keep scrolling for more

com·​plain

Legal Definition of complain

: to make a complaint

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on complain

What made you want to look up complain? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt painting a young scholar and his tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!