com·​plex·​i·​ty | \ kəm-ˈplek-sə-tē How to pronounce complexity (audio) , käm- \
plural complexities

Definition of complexity

1 : something complex the complexities of the murder trial
2 : the quality or state of being complex the complexity of the contract

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Examples of complexity in a Sentence

He was impressed by the complexity of the music. The diagram illustrates the complexity of the cell's structure. He doesn't grasp the complexity of the situation.
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Recent Examples on the Web Payment starts at $300 ($100 for Healthyish Loves It) and increases based on experience and the complexity and/or amount of reporting in the piece. The Healthyish Team, Bon Appétit, "How to Pitch Healthyish," 8 July 2020 But facing up to complexity is the point of the exercise. Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, "A Dream of Lasting Solidarity at the Dyke March," 24 June 2020 Consumer Reports conducted a review of each and discovered all can deliver a steaming mug of complexity and flavor. oregonlive, "Better your home barista skills with these coffee-perfecting devices," 23 June 2020 These problems, which have grown in complexity and intensity over the past couple of years, are only compounded by a lack of transparency and action regarding the killing of Breonna Taylor by LMPD officers. Fox News, "Louisville struggles to reimagine the future of policing," 19 June 2020 So the two have been releasing their bottles of bubbly on a rolling basis, getting some wine out in the world while letting a few of their bottles develop the complexity that can result from a longer aging process. Esther Mobley,, "West Berkeley’s Blue Ox: Meet your new favorite sparkling winemaker," 9 June 2020 Fintech companies also may have more than one business model, which can add to the complexity of an audit. Mark Maurer, WSJ, "Wirecard Probe Brings Scrutiny to How Fintech Companies Are Audited," 8 July 2020 Adding to the complexity, the US augmented its firepower in the current drills with a B-52 bomber flying with warplanes from the carriers. Brad Lendon, CNN, "Tensions heat up in South China Sea as US makes significant show of force," 6 July 2020 And the new demands on soybeans specifically risk adding another layer of complexity to China's promise to purchase more U.S. soybeans as part of the trade deal. Grady Mcgregor, Fortune, "China wants U.S. soybeans checked for coronavirus, further complicating the trade deal with Trump," 24 June 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'complexity.' 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 complexity

1661, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for complexity

see complex entry 2

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Learn More about complexity

Time Traveler for complexity

Time Traveler

The first known use of complexity was in 1661

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Statistics for complexity

Last Updated

31 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Complexity.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for complexity


How to pronounce complexity (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of complexity

: the quality or state of not being simple : the quality or state of being complex
: a part of something that is complicated or hard to understand


com·​plex·​i·​ty | \ kəm-ˈplek-sə-tē How to pronounce complexity (audio) \
plural complexities

Kids Definition of complexity

1 : the quality or condition of being difficult to understand or of lacking simplicity the complexity of a problem
2 : something difficult to understand or lacking simplicity the complexities of business

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Comments on complexity

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