complicate

verb
com·​pli·​cate | \ˈkäm-plə-ˌkāt \
complicated; complicating

Definition of complicate 

(Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to make complex or difficult

2 : involve especially : to cause to be more complex or severe a virus disease complicated by bacterial infection

3 : to combine especially in an involved or inextricable manner

complicate

adjective
com·​pli·​cate | \ˈkäm-pli-kət \

Definition of complicate (Entry 2 of 2)

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of complicate in a Sentence

Verb

Changing jobs now would complicate her life. a disease complicated by infection

Adjective

the kind of complicate machinery that is used in the field of robotics
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

But this was complicated by the NRA’s recent turn on Scott, who is currently Florida’s governor. German Lopez, Vox, "The 2018 midterm elections may have exposed a shift on gun control," 7 Nov. 2018 However, the situation is complicated by the fact that Velodyne is currently embroiled in its own patent dispute with a startup called Quanergy that is developing solid-state lidars. Mark Harris, Ars Technica, "Vigilante engineer stops Waymo from patenting key lidar technology," 1 Oct. 2018 Turkey's strategy in the opposition areas has been complicated by the presence of radical fighters. Fox News, "Last stand: Syria's rebel Idlib prepares for a losing battle," 16 Sep. 2018 Lake Michigan’s erosion issues have also been greatly complicated by development, which has cut off the natural flow of sand along much of the southern shores of Illinois, Indiana and Michigan. Tony Briscoe, chicagotribune.com, "What happens when Lake Superior has too much water? It dumps it into an already overflowing Lake Michigan," 13 July 2018 His confirmation is complicated by an unusually long record as an appellate judge and as a George W. Bush administration official — and also his role as part of the Kenneth Starr investigation of President Bill Clinton. Lisa Mascaro, The Seattle Times, "Emotions high as Kavanaugh begins fight for confirmation," 10 July 2018 But Trump's relations with Russia have been complicated by his domestic politics. Jonathan Allen /, NBC News, "Trump's European trip: Trade wars, Brexit chaos — and a Russia quandary," 10 July 2018 Navigating those stresses now has been complicated by the wide revulsion for Trump among the Mexican public. Dudley Althaus, Washington Post, "Mexico’s leftist president-elect begins his outreach to the U.S. and Trump," 6 July 2018 But the massive effort is complicated by difficulty in locating some parents and, in other cases, uncertainty about the parents’ identities. Maria Sacchetti, BostonGlobe.com, "Trump administration seeks to extend deadline for reuniting some migrant families," 6 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Spelling errors and the language barrier complicate matters too. Adam K. Raymond, Daily Intelligencer, "Reuniting Families Separated at the Border Won’t Be Easy," 20 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'complicate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of complicate

Verb

1672, in the meaning defined at sense 3

Adjective

1638, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for complicate

Adjective

Latin complicatus, past participle of complicare to fold together, from com- + plicare to fold — more at ply

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about complicate

Share complicate

Statistics for complicate

Last Updated

13 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for complicate

The first known use of complicate was in 1638

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for complicate

complicate

verb

English Language Learners Definition of complicate

: to make (something) more difficult or less simple

: to cause (a medical problem) to become more dangerous or harder to treat

complicate

verb
com·​pli·​cate | \ˈkäm-plə-ˌkāt \
complicated; complicating

Kids Definition of complicate

: to make or become difficult or lacking in simplicity

complicate

transitive verb
com·​pli·​cate | \ˈkäm-plə-ˌkāt \
complicated; complicating

Medical Definition of complicate 

: to cause to be more complex or severe a virus disease complicated by bacterial infection

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on complicate

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

WORD OF THE DAY

a private place of worship

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!