com·​pli·​cat·​ed ˈkäm-plə-ˌkā-təd How to pronounce complicated (audio)
: consisting of parts intricately combined
a complicated recipe
complicated machinery
: difficult to analyze, understand, or explain
a complicated issue
his absurdly complicated life
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 In the business of addressing complicated emotions and thoughts, a higher standard of service provision can help your client’s overall success and satisfaction. Sonia Singh, Rolling Stone, 20 Nov. 2023 The historian’s sweeping exploration captures the complicated nature of family dynamics, particularly when politics is involved. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian Magazine, 20 Nov. 2023 So that is the complicated knot that the Israeli Defense Forces find themselves in. CBS News, 19 Nov. 2023 One of Streisand's dozens of celebrity duets (everyone from Judy Garland to Willie Nelson), this glossy pop hit with Céline Dion has a complicated, highly detailed backstory. Tom Gliatto, Peoplemag, 18 Nov. 2023 Redeveloping urban villages is more complicated and could be just as costly. Keith Bradsher, New York Times, 17 Nov. 2023 There are only four pandas left in the United States, at the Atlanta Zoo. Biden and Xi understand that the complicated ties between the two nations have major global impacts. Colleen Long, Fortune, 17 Nov. 2023 Scott and Ramona flirt cutely, but their budding romance becomes complicated by the arrival of the first of her seven evil exes, a legion Scott has to conquer before love can bloom. Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter, 17 Nov. 2023 Biden may face a complicated election cycle ahead, but Xi, who has rearranged China’s one-party state around his indefinite (and possibly lifetime) rule, needs the summit to buttress his leadership credentials amid mounting scrutiny on his rule. Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, 15 Nov. 2023 See More

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

Word History


from past participle of complicate entry 1

First Known Use

1656, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of complicated was in 1656

Dictionary Entries Near complicated

Cite this Entry

“Complicated.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Nov. 2023.

Kids Definition


com·​pli·​cat·​ed ˈkäm-plə-ˌkāt-əd How to pronounce complicated (audio)
: consisting of many combined parts
complicated machinery
: difficult to analyze, understand, or explain : complex
complicatedly adverb
complicatedness noun

Medical Definition


of a bone fracture
: characterized by injury to nearby parts

More from Merriam-Webster on complicated

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