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 complaint was the latest barb in an escalating row between the two countries, after Japan imposed restrictions on exports to South Korea in protest at judgments against Japanese firms in South Korean courts. The Economist, "Politics this week," 13 July 2019 Owners of copyrighted content will now have to define the exact location in a video where their material appears, clarifying the complaint and giving people the ability to edit out said material. Julia Alexander, The Verge, "YouTube’s alternative monetization strategy is a good step, but it ignores bigger problems," 12 July 2019 Ortiz, who was in a control room across from the hall, overheard the complaint and saw him drop his blankets, prosecutors said. Megan Crepeau,, "Former Cook County correctional officer pleads to battery in jailhouse beating," 11 July 2019 While watching the area Tuesday, investigators reported seeing Saragosa leave a home at 77 Glenn Road carrying a brown bag, the complaint read. Nicholas Rondinone,, "Feds seize 2 kilograms fentanyl, half kilogram of heroin and $54,000 cash in East Hartford," 11 July 2019 Property owner Northpark SD, SD Observatory and managing partner Thomas Courtney Dubar are named as defendants in the complaint. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Observatory North Park called public nuisance for noise, drunken patrons, fire hazards," 10 July 2019 Filed by the Pacific Legal Foundation, a conservative law firm based in California, the complaint focuses on the foreclosure of a southwest Detroit rental property that owed $144 in outstanding taxes in 2017. Allie Gross, Detroit Free Press, "Lawsuit challenges Wayne County's authority to take homes over tax debts," 10 July 2019 The complaint claims that Buck paid for Moore’s transportation and promised to pay Moore for the rendezvous. Fox News, "Democratic megadonor Ed Buck now facing allegations of human trafficking, revenge porn," 10 July 2019 But the city’s plan has drawn intense opposition from residents, similar to the complaints San Francisco has faced. Sarah Ravani,, "Fremont roiled by debate over centers for growing homeless population," 9 July 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

17 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for complaint

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

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More Definitions for complaint



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
3 : petition

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Comments on complaint

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