com·pli·cat·ed | \ˈkäm-plə-ˌkā-təd \

Definition of complicated 

1 : consisting of parts intricately combined a complicated recipe complicated machinery

2 : difficult to analyze, understand, or explain a complicated issue his absurdly complicated life

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Other Words from complicated

complicatedly adverb
complicatedness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for complicated

complex, complicated, intricate, involved, knotty mean having confusingly interrelated parts. complex suggests the unavoidable result of a necessary combining and does not imply a fault or failure. a complex recipe complicated applies to what offers great difficulty in understanding, solving, or explaining. complicated legal procedures intricate suggests such interlacing of parts as to make it nearly impossible to follow or grasp them separately. an intricate web of deceit involved implies extreme complication and often disorder. a rambling, involved explanation knotty suggests complication and entanglement that make solution or understanding improbable. knotty ethical questions

Examples of complicated in a Sentence

The game's rules are too complicated. The machine has a complicated design.

Recent Examples on the Web

Weekend mini-home-makeovers don't need to take a lot of time, be complicated, or cost a lot of money. Melissa Rolland,, "Projects That Don't Break The Bank," 19 June 2018 Things get a little complicated, however, when a bank robber (Sterling K. Brown), pulling off that One Last Job, runs afoul of an even bigger, and more dangerous crook. Chris Foran, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "What's new on screen, including 'Ocean's 8,' and where the free outdoor movies are this week," 7 June 2018 This means that Republicans will likely have to stay united in supporting Mr. Trump's pick, which could get complicated if moderate GOP Sens. CBS News, "Nuclear option: Why Trump's Supreme Court pick needs only 51 votes," 9 July 2018 In fact, while exercise is really good for your health, its ability to facilitate weight loss is complicated and questionable at best, so keep that in mind before doubling down on exercise for weight loss reasons. Alexa Tucker, SELF, "Is It Safe to Work Out Twice in One Day?," 7 July 2018 For crab businesses, obtaining the H2-B visas that are required to bring temporary foreign workers has long been a complicated process. Scott Dance,, "After July Fourth crab feasts, an uncertain season for Maryland seafood industry," 6 July 2018 The state water board, which referees California's complicated water-rights system, also is in charge of policing the quality of the water that goes through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta — the ailing hub of the state's water delivery system. Dale Kasler, sacbee, "California has a new plan for allocating its water, and it means less for farmers," 6 July 2018 There is nothing more pure than to harvest honey from the hive and use the fresh but complicated ingredient in a daily special. Discover Magazine, "One-on-One with Executive Chef Kevin Erving," 6 July 2018 That last one, at least, doesn’t have to be all that complicated. Yang-yi Goh, GQ, "Here’s How to Get Dressed for All Those Summer Weddings," 2 July 2018

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

1656, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for complicated

see complicate entry 2

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Last Updated

17 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for complicated

The first known use of complicated was in 1656

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More Definitions for complicated



English Language Learners Definition of complicated

: hard to understand, explain, or deal with : having many parts or steps


com·pli·cat·ed | \ˈkäm-plə-ˌkā-təd \

Kids Definition of complicated

: difficult to understand or explain complicated rules



Medical Definition of complicated 

of a bone fracture

: characterized by injury to nearby parts

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Comments on complicated

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