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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web Even among kids who do get COVID-19, MIS-C is a very rare complication. Jamie Ducharme, Time, "The Hunt to Understand COVID-19's Connection to Kawasaki Disease," 27 May 2020 The group hopes to open the railway sometime in 2022, according to the Santa Fe New Mexican, though the timing may change due to any unforeseen complications surrounding the coronavirus pandemic. Andrea Romano, Travel + Leisure, "George R.R. Martin Is Helping Save a Defunct New Mexico Railroad," 27 May 2020 Efforts to slow the virus's spread are tangled with complications, public health experts say, including language barriers, economic stressors, limited resources and, in some cases, a slow response from local governments. Anchorage Daily News, "Latinos shoulder heavy burden because of crowded housing, essential jobs," 26 May 2020 Other fatal complications included renal failure and cardiac arrest, adding to evidence that the disease can ravage not just the lungs but other systems. Joaquin Palomino,, "This is how they died. Santa Clara releases information on every COVID-19 death," 26 May 2020 Ethically, Watkins said Baptist will seek to explore all options for all patients, including those with underlying health conditions, who are more likely to suffer from serious complications from COVID-19. Lauren Caruba,, "With coronavirus treatment drug still in short supply, San Antonio hospitals confront rationing it to patients," 26 May 2020 Adenovirus is not without its complications, however, the foremost being that a lot of us have been exposed to it previously. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Early tests of vaccine for COVID-19 pass peer review, look promising," 26 May 2020 Cancer patients are high-risk for coronavirus complications, as both the disease and its treatments tend to weaken the immune system, according to the American Cancer Society. NBC News, "Cancer hospitals like Memorial Sloan Kettering fight cancer and the coronavirus at the same time," 26 May 2020 The man who possessed an insatiable intellect and could once rattle off Roberto Clemente’s lifetime batting statistics lost his short-term memory as a result of the surgery and developed other health complications. oregonlive, "Oregonians with coronavirus: Sportswriter Douglas Roberts slowed by brain tumor, ‘very brave’ to end," 25 May 2020

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.

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First Known Use of complication

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

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Time Traveler for complication

Time Traveler

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

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Last Updated

30 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Complication.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for complication


How to pronounce complication (audio)

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

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