com·​pli·​cat·​ed | \ ˈkäm-plə-ˌkā-təd How to pronounce complicated (audio) \

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

So, life had already evolved to the point of there being pretty complicated bacteria very quickly, after the Earth cooled. Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker, "What If Life Did Not Originate on Earth?," 8 July 2019 Before leaving for the G20 Summit in Japan, Trump was in no mood to discuss other very big, pretty complicated stuff with journalists on the White House lawn. Lynn Yaeger, Vogue, "The Week in Washington: “What I Say to Him Is None of Your Business”," 30 June 2019 The problem with developing a cancer vaccine is that cancer cells are pretty complicated, Lichtenfeld says. CNN, "These dogs are getting a cancer vaccine. If it works, humans could be next," 21 June 2019 But the dynamic is more complicated than that, especially in the early states. James Pindell,, "Sanders is slowly sliding in polls — as Warren rises," 20 June 2019 If the idea is that life in occupied France was more complicated than a simple good-and-evil schema, then these people and their actions should be able to genuinely surprise you. Adrian Daub, The New Republic, "Hulu’s Das Boot Gets Lost at Sea," 19 June 2019 Doing so will no doubt be less complicated than uprooting your life and moving. Maurie Backman, USA TODAY, "25% of Americans have major money worries: Here's what to do if you're one of them," 5 June 2019 The unusual case, which was presented over the weekend at the European Society of Anaesthesiology annual meeting, involved a patient with a medical history that was a bit more complicated than usual. Christina Oehler,, "Man's Chest Caught on Fire During Surgery—Here's How That Happens," 4 June 2019 Human trials will be hard to conduct, and a cell is a fiendishly complicated environment with many variables to keep track of: experiments in manipulating the bioelectric field have revealed that there are still many gaps to be plugged. Sally Adee, Quartz, "Our bodies are full of electricity that could help us fight cancer," 30 May 2019

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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Statistics for complicated

Last Updated

11 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

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 How to pronounce complicated (audio) \

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).


to complain fretfully

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