noun com·plaint \ kəm-ˈplānt \
|Updated on: 14 Aug 2018

Definition of complaint

1 : expression of grief, pain, or dissatisfaction
  • She did her chores without complaint.
2 a : 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

  1. The board has received a number of complaints about the new policy.

  2. The company has a system to handle customer complaints.

  3. The lack of parking spaces is a common complaint among the city's residents.

  4. The lack of financial support is our biggest complaint.

  5. He is being treated for a stomach complaint.

  6. Shortness of breath was a common complaint among the patients.

Recent Examples of complaint from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of complaint

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

COMPLAINT Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of complaint for English Language Learners

  • : 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

COMPLAINT Defined for Kids


noun com·plaint \ kəm-ˈplānt \

Definition of complaint for Students

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?

Medical Dictionary


noun com·plaint \ kəm-ˈplānt \

medical Definition of complaint

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

Law Dictionary


noun com·plaint

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

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