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

And so Reeves and his colleagues have withdrawn their complaint, and plan to refile the suit in Carroll County Circuit Court in the coming weeks. Jon Kelvey,, "Carroll County drops opioid lawsuit but plans to refile — with aim to keep it out of federal court," 3 Sep. 2019 Though not unionized, employees at Riot organized a strike this spring to voice their complaints and express solidarity with the claimants. Michelle Cheng, Quartz at Work, "Union pushes at places like YouTube and WeWork could transform white-collar work," 1 Sep. 2019 But for now, corporate India will settle for a government that has belatedly seen fit to respond to its complaints. The Economist, "India’s government is scrambling to revive the economy," 31 Aug. 2019 One of our chief complaints with last year's model—the lack of a 4K option—has been addressed this year. Samuel Axon, Ars Technica, "Lenovo’s new Comet Lake-equipped ThinkPad X1 Carbon hits this September," 27 Aug. 2019 Their complaints ranged from safety concerns for cyclists to lack of a proper escape route in the case of a major earthquake or fire. Sarah Ravani,, "Oakland kicks off ‘Great Pave’ with fresh asphalt for Fruitvale side street," 22 Aug. 2019 As Tofurky points out in its complaint, its choices are to pay the fines, abandon Arkansas, or completely redesign its packaging. Jack Greiner,, "Strictly Legal: Is a tofu burger a burger? Arkansas says no.," 15 Aug. 2019 In its complaints, Velodyne said both Robosense and Hesai have been selling products that infringe on multiple aspects of US Patent No. Echo Huang, Quartz, "The world’s leader in self-driving lidar technology is suing two Chinese companies over IP," 15 Aug. 2019 In a statement to The Times, Bob Wingenroth, the superior Kennedy referred to in her complaint, who is the director of auditing for the city controller’s office, said Kennedy misrepresented their conversation about the DWP contracts. Dakota Smith, Los Angeles Times, "A city auditor was investigating DWP contracts. She says she was warned not to be ‘thorough’," 5 Sep. 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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Learn More about complaint

Statistics for complaint

Last Updated

11 Sep 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

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


concealment of treason or felony

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