com·​pli·​ca·​tion | \ ˌkäm-plə-ˈkā-shən How to pronounce complication (audio) \

Definition of complication

1a : complexity, intricacy especially : a situation or a detail of character complicating the main thread of a plot
b : a making difficult, involved, or intricate
c : a complex or intricate feature or element
d : a difficult factor or issue often appearing unexpectedly and changing existing plans, methods, or attitudes
2 : a secondary disease or condition developing in the course of a primary disease or condition

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of complication in a Sentence

The negotiations stalled when complications arose. Pneumonia is a common complication of AIDS. She experienced complications during her pregnancy. The patient died of complications from surgery.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web Though the risk of dying from vaccine complication was only half the risk of dying from flu itself, many participants still declined vaccination. Joshua Liao, Forbes, "How Your Brain Might Trick You Into Thinking Covid Vaccines Are Riskier Than They Really Are," 27 Apr. 2021 Chopard celebrates 25 years of watchmaking with its very first in-house jumping-hour complication. Michael Clerizo, WSJ, "Every New Watch You Can Start Coveting Now," 16 Apr. 2021 And, federal health officials take swift action when a rare but serious potential health complication surfaces. Editorial Board, Star Tribune, "Pause on J&J vaccine shows that safety system works," 13 Apr. 2021 Where was that complication and contradiction in the film? Angelica Jade Bastién, Vulture, "Judas and the Black Messiah Is What Happens When Hollywood Co-opts Radical History," 11 Feb. 2021 The two doses create another logistical complication for providers across the country, who will need to track dosing and provide reminders for individuals to get their second dose. Stephanie Innes, The Arizona Republic, "Here's what we know so far about the COVID-19 vaccine in Arizona," 3 Dec. 2020 Persuading hundreds of millions of Americans to return at the right interval adds another complication to an already daunting undertaking. TheWeek, "The vaccine breakthrough," 29 Nov. 2020 Another complication: Both candidates require people to get two shots, 21 days apart for the Pfizer-BioNTech candidate, 28 days for the Moderna drug. Anne Saker, The Enquirer, "COVID: When can I get a vaccination? Do I have to get one? Things we’re still learning about coronavirus vaccines," 24 Nov. 2020 And the complication is that this cohort does not naturally speak up. Neil Senturia, San Diego Union-Tribune, "In building your company admit there’s confusion and embrace the possibility," 5 Apr. 2021

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about complication

Time Traveler for complication

Time Traveler

The first known use of complication was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for complication

Last Updated

5 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Complication.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for complication



English Language Learners Definition of complication

: something that makes something harder to understand, explain, or deal with
medical : a disease or condition that happens in addition to another disease or condition : a problem that makes a disease or condition more dangerous or harder to treat


com·​pli·​ca·​tion | \ ˌkäm-plə-ˈkā-shən How to pronounce complication (audio) \

Kids Definition of complication

: something that makes a situation more difficult


com·​pli·​ca·​tion | \ ˌkäm-plə-ˈkā-shən How to pronounce complication (audio) \

Medical Definition of complication

: a secondary disease or condition that develops in the course of a primary disease or condition and arises either as a result of it or from independent causes

Comments on complication

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Words Used by Nabokov Quiz

  • image1676440788
  • Choose the best definition or synonym for the word in bold: "There are some eructations that sound like cheers—at least, mine did." Lolita
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!