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.

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web Hours-long wait times to its call centers — a chief complaint among customers last summer — have been reduced to an average of 30 minutes, executives say. Lori Aratani, Anchorage Daily News, 13 May 2022 Strems was later suspended for two years and another Florida Bar complaint is pending before the state Supreme Court. Ron Hurtibise, Sun Sentinel, 13 May 2022 Officers with the Monroe Police Department were initially called to a Walmart for a shoplifting complaint. Fox News, 13 May 2022 The complaint charges Flewellyn with distribution of child pornography and accessing with intent to view child pornography, the statement said. Hartford Courant, 13 May 2022 But making a complaint to the sheriff's department might have created an outrage as well, Campanelli said. Esteban Parra, USA TODAY, 13 May 2022 The plaintiffs, including Common Cause Florida, FairDistricts Now and the Florida State Conference of the NAACP, filed the revised complaint Wednesday in U.S. district court in Tallahassee. Orlando Sentinel, 12 May 2022 This complaint also came into the FBI through the National Threat Operations Center snitch-line. ... James Freeman, WSJ, 12 May 2022 For those who need to report a problem with a meat, poultry or egg product, the electronic consumer-complaint monitoring system is online. Marc Bona, cleveland, 12 May 2022 See More

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.

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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Time Traveler for complaint

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for complaint

Last Updated

16 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Complaint.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for complaint


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



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
3 : petition

More from Merriam-Webster on complaint

Nglish: Translation of complaint for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of complaint for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about complaint


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