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.

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web An antsy fan base can no longer complain its front office whiffs on the marquee trade acquisition. Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, "Six MLB teams to watch as 4 p.m. ET trade deadline looms — from the Indians to the Dodgers," 31 Aug. 2020 Engagement would also give Chinese diplomats an opportunity to complain about US treatment of the country’s businesses, like TikTok and Huawei, perhaps extracting new concessions. Tim Fernholz, Quartz, "Why Donald Trump is cancelling trade meetings with China," 21 Aug. 2020 Their overriding message: Vote this time; don't just complain later. Steve Peoples, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Obama, Clinton, Harris highlight Democrat’s third convention night," 20 Aug. 2020 While there is a lot to complain, worry and stress about right now, think of your conversations as an escape from the coronavirus heaviness. Hannah Herrera Greenspan, chicagotribune.com, "Social Graces: Someone you know has recovered from coronavirus and wants to hang out. Here’s how to handle.," 5 Aug. 2020 But that’s not on us to sit up here (and complain). Mark Medina, USA TODAY, "How Rockets have been impacted by absence of Russell Westbrook in series vs. Thunder," 26 Aug. 2020 But residents complain that hygiene supplies have become scarce, and measures meant to contain the spread of COVID-19 are not enforced. Star Tribune, "COVID-19 is 'a crisis within a crisis' for homeless people," 24 Aug. 2020 Some neighbors complain about her dogs, and veterinary inspectors come from time to time to check that the dogs are well cared for. Robyn Dixon, Washington Post, "In Moscow, a woman devotes her life to saving dogs," 20 Aug. 2020 Some developers complain that Apple doesn’t take a cut of Uber Eats meal deliveries or Amazon shipments. Owen Thomas, SFChronicle.com, "An Epic battle over Apple’s App Store," 19 Aug. 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.

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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

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Time Traveler for complain

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for complain

Last Updated

10 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Complain.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/complain. Accessed 21 Sep. 2020.

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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

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com·​plain

Legal Definition of complain

: to make a complaint

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Comments on complain

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