com·​plaint | \ kəm-ˈplānt How to pronounce complaint (audio) \

Definition of complaint

1 : expression of grief, pain, or dissatisfaction She did her chores without complaint.
2a : something that is the cause or subject of protest or outcry Inefficiency was the main complaint against the local government.
b : a bodily ailment or disease The patient's complaint was frequent headaches.
3 : a formal allegation against a party The complaint alleges sexual harassment.

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Examples of complaint in a Sentence

The board has received a number of complaints about the new policy. The company has a system to handle customer complaints. The lack of parking spaces is a common complaint among the city's residents. The lack of financial support is our biggest complaint. He is being treated for a stomach complaint. Shortness of breath was a common complaint among the patients.
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Recent Examples on the Web The criminal complaint does not reveal to whom Tyler Huffhines sold the cartridges, which sell on the street for around $35 each. Meg Jones, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Kenosha County brothers charged with operating huge counterfeit vaping cartridge operation," 16 Sep. 2019 Benjamin’s lawyers wrote in the 2015 complaint against Sparks and the school board. Ephrat Livni, Quartzy, "Novelist Nicholas Sparks’ private writings are being put on trial," 10 Aug. 2019 The criminal complaint against that official mentions other unnamed UAW officials that authorities say are involved in the scandal. Chris Isidore, CNN, "The GM strike was inevitable. How it will end isn't so clear," 17 Sep. 2019 In January, Nessel picked up the ball, reviewed several complaints against the company and notified Executive Car Rental her office intended to take action. Joe Guillen, Detroit Free Press, "Nessel sues car rental company for 'deceptive and illegal tactics'," 13 Sep. 2019 Police, however, signed complaints against the man for domestic violence and assault. Fleeing and eluding: Hollister Road At 2:10 a.m. Aug. 31, an officer attempted to stop at Hollister and Hereford roads a car that bore fictitious plates., "Sex, jealousy lead to fight over man: Cleveland Heights police blotter," 6 Sep. 2019 Immediately afterward, both the gunman and representatives of the company called 911, each lodging complaints against the other. Sarah Mervosh, New York Times, "Texas Gunman: From Small-Time Troublemaker to Mass Killer," 2 Sep. 2019 The receptionist had received at least two other complaints from patients about Ataee’s conduct, documents said. Julia Sclafani, Daily Pilot, "Fountain Valley doctor’s medical license revoked after accusations of sexual misconduct," 27 Aug. 2019 Velodyne, the world’s largest producer of lidar—a radar-like sensor technology that uses lasers instead of radio waves—has brought patent infringement complaints against Suteng (also known as Robosense) and Hesai. Echo Huang, Quartz, "The world’s leader in self-driving lidar technology is suing two Chinese companies over IP," 15 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'complaint.' 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 complaint

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for complaint

Middle English compleynte, from Anglo-French compleint, from compleindre — see complain

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Statistics for complaint

Last Updated

6 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for complaint

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

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More Definitions for complaint


How to pronounce complaint (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of complaint

: a statement that you are unhappy or not satisfied with something
: the act of saying or writing that you are unhappy or dissatisfied with something
: something to be unhappy about : something that people complain about


com·​plaint | \ kəm-ˈplānt How to pronounce complaint (audio) \

Kids Definition of complaint

1 : expression of grief, pain, or discontent He does his work without complaint.
2 : a cause or reason for expressing grief, pain, or discontent The noise is my biggest complaint.
3 : a sickness or disease of the body a stomach complaint
4 : a charge of wrongdoing against a person What's her complaint against me?


com·​plaint | \ kəm-ˈplānt How to pronounce complaint (audio) \

Medical Definition of complaint

: a bodily ailment or disease bloating and other digestive complaints— Christine Gorman

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Legal Definition of complaint

1 : the initial pleading that starts a lawsuit and that sets forth the allegations made by the plaintiff against the defendant and the plaintiff's demand for relief — see also prayer, process, well-pleaded complaint rule — compare answer
2 : a document sworn to by a victim or police officer that sets forth a criminal violation and that serves as the charging instrument by which charges are filed and judicial proceedings commenced against a defendant in a magistrate's court — compare declaration, indictment, information

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Comments on complaint

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


to engage in dissolute behavior

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