complicate

verb
com·​pli·​cate | \ ˈkäm-plə-ˌkāt How to pronounce complicate (audio) \
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 How to pronounce complicate (audio) \

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

Unfortunately, each automaker has its own name for the systems, complicating comparison shopping. Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press, "These car features could prevent your next crash," 8 June 2019 California was also among the first to approve the recreational use of marijuana, even as the federal government continues to complicate the issue. Cecilia Aguiar-curry, The Mercury News, "Opinion: On CBD, California’s cannabis laws stricter than the feds’," 7 June 2019 Rounds said that although the effects are complicated, the reason is not. Ronald J. Hansen, azcentral, "Threatened Mexican tariffs could cost 30,000 Arizona jobs in a year," 7 June 2019 Human relationships are really complicated and that translates into why our political relationships are complicated. Oussama Zahr, Billboard, "David Lang on Blending Politics & Opera in His 'Prisoner of the State'," 7 June 2019 The logic here is that it is constitutionally complicated to indict a sitting President. Amy Davidson Sorkin, The New Yorker, "Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic Debate About the Best Way to Get Donald Trump Out of Office," 6 June 2019 Further complicating things for Central Missouri: The Mules’ starter, Luke Lucas, just wasn’t on. Greg Woods, kansascity, "Central Missouri’s rally falls short in 6-5 loss to Colorado Mesa at DII World Series," 3 June 2019 As if this weren’t complicated enough, anxiety disorders can manifest in a number of ways. Natasha Lavender, SELF, "This Is the Difference Between Feeling Anxious and Having an Anxiety Disorder," 16 May 2019 This certainly isn't a happy ending for our hero, but the Romulan Empire comment appears to complicate things. Darren Orf, Popular Mechanics, "Everything We Know So Far About 'Star Trek: Picard'," 16 May 2019

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

Statistics for complicate

Last Updated

12 Jun 2019

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 How to pronounce complicate (audio) \
complicated; complicating

Kids Definition of complicate

: to make or become difficult or lacking in simplicity

complicate

transitive verb
com·​pli·​cate | \ ˈkäm-plə-ˌkāt How to pronounce complicate (audio) \
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

incapable of being surmounted or overcome

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!