complain

verb

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

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.
complainer noun
complainingly 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.
Recent Examples on the Web Austin complained directly to his Israeli counterpart, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, during a call on April 3, one of the U.S. officials said. Dan Lamothe, Washington Post, 11 Apr. 2024 After the game, LeBron James complained about an illness that would sideline him Sunday against Minnesota. Dan Woike, Los Angeles Times, 10 Apr. 2024 Many conservatives complain that mainstream churches—Catholic and Protestant alike—have grown soft and spineless. Robert F. Worth, The Atlantic, 10 Apr. 2024 But Republican critics complained that those changes did not go far enough, calling into doubt whether the bill backed by the Biden administration and Johnson would have enough votes to advance. CBS News, 10 Apr. 2024 Later critics complained that FitzGerald made extensive use of a translator’s liberties and put things to Omar’s name that a faithful Sufi never would have committed to writing. Tom Zoellner, SPIN, 9 Apr. 2024 Critics, however, complain that Toyota’s insistence on offering hybrids instead of more electric vehicles – and its lobbying against government EV requirements – are holding back the auto industry’s EV transition. Peter Valdes-Dapena, CNN, 9 Apr. 2024 According to market analysts, posture correction technologies are expected to grow approximately 5.7 percent over the next five years, especially with rising demands due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with more at-home workers complaining of back pain. Beth Linker, TIME, 8 Apr. 2024 The prosecution, played by Greg Kinnear, brings out a parade of people who have been wronged by David, all to complain about him (Mocha Joe, Mr. Takahashi). Esther Zuckerman, Rolling Stone, 8 Apr. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'complain.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near complain

Cite this Entry

“Complain.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/complain. Accessed 17 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

complain

verb
com·​plain kəm-ˈplān How to pronounce complain (audio)
1
: to express grief, pain, or discontent : find fault
complaining about the weather
2
: to accuse someone of wrongdoing
complainer noun
complainingly adverb

Medical Definition

complain

intransitive verb
com·​plain kəm-ˈplān How to pronounce complain (audio)
: to speak of one's illness or symptoms
the patient visited the office complaining of weight loss

Legal Definition

complain

intransitive verb
com·​plain
: to make a complaint

More from Merriam-Webster on complain

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