com·pli·ca·tion | \ˌkäm-plə-ˈkā-shən \

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

Around 700 women across the country die during pregnancy or delivery or from related complications, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Ese Olumhense,, "1 baby shower, 5 dozen moms: Local hospital system works to combat deaths of mothers, infants," 6 July 2018 Following the birth of her first child, daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr., Williams endured a series of complications that lead to an absence year from the field. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "Angelique Kerber Defeats Serena Williams at Wimbledon Women’s Final," 14 July 2018 Both went to an understaffed rehabilitation facility after leaving the hospital, and both bounced right back to the hospital — five times altogether — because of complications. Judith Graham, Washington Post, "A Hospital’s Human Touch: Why Taking Care In Discharging A Patient Matters," 12 July 2018 The agency estimates that about 700 women in the country die each year of complications related to childbirth or pregnancy. Matthew Ormseth, Courant Community, "A Simsbury Woman Died From Strep Just Days After Giving Birth. Her Family Has Raised Over $250,000," 10 July 2018 The activist South Side priest plans to put those techniques to the test Saturday with a grand stroke of demonstration that may send a ripple of logistical and travel complications throughout Chicago. Patrick M. O'connell,, "Anti-violence march on northbound lanes of Dan Ryan Expressway set to start at 10 a.m.," 7 July 2018 Bruno died two years later because of complications from the gunshot wound. Grant Suneson And John Harrington, USA TODAY, "The 25 most heroic dogs in America," 5 July 2018 The technology is an alternative to operating on patients who are at high risk of surgical complications. Maria Elena Vizcaino,, "Puerto Rican evacuee is 100th patient for new procedure at Osceola Regional: 'Now I can live longer'," 3 July 2018 And all of them recovered without medical complications, said Patricia Santos, Galván's aunt. Sarah Blaskey, Sonia Osorio And Daniel Chang, miamiherald, "She dreamed of getting plastic surgery in Miami. Three days later, she was dead.," 13 June 2018

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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Last Updated

18 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for complication

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

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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 \

Kids Definition of complication

: something that makes a situation more difficult


com·pli·ca·tion | \ˌkäm-plə-ˈkā-shən \

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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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).


to reject or criticize sharply

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