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

Grief is very complicated—there is nothing simple about it. Margaret Lazarus Dean, Popular Mechanics, "The Oral History of the Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster," 28 Jan. 2019 Suddenly something as simple as taking up a governor’s request to deliver the speech — typically done without a hitch — is more complicated. Becky Bohrer, The Seattle Times, "Alaska governor prepares for first State of State speech," 21 Jan. 2019 Off screen, the reasoning is slightly more complicated. Megan Stein, Country Living, "Here's Why Last Man Standing's Eve Baxter Has Been Missing This Season," 9 Nov. 2018 Selena Gomez seems to have a pretty complicated relationship with Instagram. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Selena Gomez is Taking a Break from Social Media…Again," 24 Sep. 2018 Over the course of Riverdale's first two seasons, fans have come to realize that while the lives of Archie, Veronica, Betty, and Jughead are pretty complicated (to say the least), their parents have just as much drama going on. Andrea Park, Teen Vogue, "The Riverdale Cast Will Reportedly Play Their Own Parents in a Season 3 Flashback," 7 Aug. 2018 As a former Olympic hopeful, the world-class athlete has a long, complicated relationship with gymnastics and an empowering message about body positivity in a sport rife with critics. Jenny Mccoy, SELF, "5 Things to Know About Katelyn Ohashi, the UCLA Gymnast Whose Floor Routine Just Went Viral," 15 Jan. 2019 The group has had a complicated relationship with the more moderate rebels for years--sometimes allying with them against Syrian government forces, but at other times thwarting opposition gains and interests. Raja Abdulrahim, WSJ, "Terror Group Seizes Last Syrian Opposition Stronghold," 10 Jan. 2019 Jack realizes her mistake and begins to investigate the true nature of the drug, while Paladin and Eliasz work their way through the criminal underworld, all the while navigating a complicated relationship of their own. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "The 13 best sci-fi books to check out on your new Kindle," 29 Dec. 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

7 Feb 2019

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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

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


excited commotion or publicity

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