complete

1 of 2

adjective

com·​plete kəm-ˈplēt How to pronounce complete (audio)
completer; completest
1
a
: having all necessary parts, elements, or steps
a complete diet
b
of a protein : containing all essential amino acids
Beans and grains combined together form a complete protein.
2
a
: total, absolute
complete silence
b
: fully carried out : thorough
a complete renovation
c
of a football pass : legally caught
3
: brought to an end : concluded
a complete period of time
4
: highly proficient
a complete artist
5
of a subject or predicate : including modifiers, complements, or objects
6
of insect metamorphosis : characterized by the occurrence of a pupal stage between the motile immature stages and the adult compare incomplete sense 3
7
: having all four sets of floral organs
8
of a metric space : having the property that every Cauchy sequence of elements converges to a limit in the space
completely adverb
completeness noun
completive adjective

complete

2 of 2

verb

completed; completing

transitive verb

1
: to bring to an end and especially into a perfected state
complete a painting
2
a
: to make whole or perfect
Its song completes the charm of the bird.
Her latest purchase completes her collection.
b
: to mark the end of
A rousing chorus completes the show.
c
: execute, fulfill
complete a contract
3
: to carry out (a forward pass) successfully
The quarterback completed 12 out of 18 passes.
Phrases
complete with
: made complete by the inclusion of
a birthday cake complete with candles
Choose the Right Synonym for complete

Adjective

full, complete, plenary, replete mean containing all that is wanted or needed or possible.

full implies the presence or inclusion of everything that is wanted or required by something or that can be held, contained, or attained by it.

a full schedule

complete applies when all that is needed is present.

a complete picture of the situation

plenary adds to complete the implication of fullness without qualification.

given plenary power

replete implies being filled to the brim or to satiety.

replete with delightful details

Verb

close, end, conclude, finish, complete, terminate mean to bring or come to a stopping point or limit.

close usually implies that something has been in some way open as well as unfinished.

close a debate

end conveys a strong sense of finality.

ended his life

conclude may imply a formal closing (as of a meeting).

the service concluded with a blessing

finish may stress completion of a final step in a process.

after it is painted, the house will be finished

complete implies the removal of all deficiencies or a successful finishing of what has been undertaken.

the resolving of this last issue completes the agreement

terminate implies the setting of a limit in time or space.

your employment terminates after three months

Examples of complete in a Sentence

Adjective He spoke in complete sentences. They sat in complete silence. Verb The project took four months to complete. Her latest purchase completes her collection. The new baby completed their family. The quarterback completed 12 out of 15 passes. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
The cozy, elegant atmosphere of the Tabard Inn restaurant — complete with medieval-looking font on the menu and, of course, a blazing fireplace — is designed to stir up warm, fuzzy feelings. Zoe Glasser, Washington Post, 7 Feb. 2024 The popular spin scrubber is designed to get into every crevice of the tub, complete with three adjustable lengths that extend up to 54 inches long. Amy Schulman, Peoplemag, 7 Feb. 2024 Recommended for babies 10 months old and up, this set comes complete with working buttons, flashing lights, and even car sounds (batteries are required and included). Chaunie Brusie, Rn, Parents, 6 Feb. 2024 Robbie’s Marina of Islamorada Islamorada, mile marker 77.5 No trip through the Upper Keys is complete without a stop to feed the tarpon. Gwen Filosa, Miami Herald, 6 Feb. 2024 Each is a different discipline, complete with its own body of knowledge and its collection of recordings, which are the codified wisdom of those who have come before. Nate Anderson, Ars Technica, 6 Feb. 2024 Taylor Swift—one of the night’s buzziest attendees—went refined in a white strapless Schiaparelli gown, complete with black opera gloves. Christian Allaire, Vogue, 5 Feb. 2024 His comments came after Adam Proffitt, the state budget director, delivered a presentation on the GOP plan’s pitfalls, complete with charts. Jonathan Shorman, Kansas City Star, 5 Feb. 2024 The Times’ complete guide to storm safety preparedness El Niño and climate change are supercharging incoming storm Today’s top stories Grammys 2024 The storm wasn’t the only thing happening in Los Angeles on Sunday night. Ryan Fonseca, Los Angeles Times, 5 Feb. 2024
Verb
And a custody agreement cannot be completed until the child is born. Kacen Bayless, Kansas City Star, 8 Feb. 2024 That's the result of an $86 million dike project led by Kazakhstan, with assistance from the World Bank, completed in 2005. Victoria Milko, Quartz, 8 Feb. 2024 According to unnamed sources cited by Bloomberg, employee performance reviews that had already been completed were suddenly reopened with one new question—is this employee’s role critical? Christiaan Hetzner, Fortune, 8 Feb. 2024 Diablo, the Young Adult and Tully fan in me needs to know if the trinity of you, Charlize Theron and Jason Reitman have an ambition to complete a spiritual trilogy someday? Brian Davids, The Hollywood Reporter, 8 Feb. 2024 The agency has up to six months to complete its inspection. Brian Brant, Peoplemag, 8 Feb. 2024 The Company recently completed an extensive Security and Safety assessment using the Company's independent security and risk management consultant, which confirmed low levels of risk in the license area and for the type of exploration drilling work the Company will accomplish. Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 7 Feb. 2024 Solid looks Of Saturn's seven major moons, Mimas orbits closest to the planet, taking less than a day to complete an orbit. John Timmer, Ars Technica, 7 Feb. 2024 Betsy took five years to complete but the restaurant had closed by that time. Gwen Filosa, Miami Herald, 6 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'complete.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Adjective

Middle English complet, compleet, complete, borrowed from Middle French & Latin; Middle French complet, borrowed from Latin complētus, past participle of complēre "to fill, make up, carry to completion," from com- com- + plēre "to fill" — more at full entry 1

Note: The simplex plēre is only attested in an inscription of 176/77 A.D., as a gerund, and in a comment of the grammarian Sextus Pompeius Festus, that "the ancients also used to say plentur without prefixes" ("plentur antiqui etiam sine praepositionibus dicebant"). If such a verb existed, it was replaced at an early date by prefixed compounds such as complēre, in which the prefix marks perfective aspect.

Verb

Middle English completen, derivative of complet complete entry 1

First Known Use

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of complete was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near complete

Cite this Entry

“Complete.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/complete. Accessed 21 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

complete

1 of 2 adjective
com·​plete kəm-ˈplēt How to pronounce complete (audio)
completer; completest
1
: possessing all necessary parts : entire
a complete set of books
a complete diet
2
: brought to an end : having been completed
five complete days
3
: being such to the fullest degree : thorough, absolute
complete freedom
a complete failure
4
of a football pass : legally caught
completely adverb
completeness noun

complete

2 of 2 verb
completed; completing
1
: to bring to an end : accomplish or achieve fully
complete a job
2
: to make whole or perfect
the shoes complete the outfit

Medical Definition

complete

adjective
com·​plete kəm-ˈplēt How to pronounce complete (audio)
1
of insect metamorphosis : characterized by the occurrence of a pupal stage between the motile immature stages and the adult compare incomplete sense 1
2
of a bone fracture : characterized by a break passing entirely across the bone compare incomplete sense 2
3
of a protein : containing all essential amino acids compare incomplete sense 4

More from Merriam-Webster on complete

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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