com·​plic·​i·​ty | \ kəm-ˈpli-s(ə-)tē How to pronounce complicity (audio) \
plural complicities

Definition of complicity

1 : association or participation in or as if in a wrongful act arrested for complicity in the crime
2 : an instance of complicity The two share a complicity she calls fraternal.— Joan Dupont

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Synonyms for complicity


collusion, connivance, conspiracy

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Examples of complicity in a Sentence

There's no proof of her complicity in the murder. He acted with his brother's complicity.

Recent Examples on the Web

Elite complicity The issues are not entirely external. Zoe Cormack, Quartz Africa, "Kenya’s huge wind power project might be great for the environment but not for local communities," 3 Sep. 2019 The accusations against Barboza led demonstrators to hold a vigil outside his house Monday, raising accusations of complicity and shame for the town proud of its image as the most patriotic in America. Amanda Milkovits,, "Bristol, R.I., newspaper accepts blame for not looking closer at accused abuser," 8 Aug. 2019 Russia’s attack on our democracy, as well as Trump’s complicity and cover up, should shock the conscience of every American. Letters To The Editor, The Mercury News, "Letter: What Robert Mueller said this week is jaw-dropping," 28 July 2019 Police did little to stop them from targeting Muslim businesses and homes, witnesses said, whether out of fear, complicity or a lack of manpower. Washington Post, "After Sri Lanka attacks, Muslims face boycotts and violence," 8 July 2019 Francis has had a steep and difficult learning curve on the issue of complicity and culpability. Nicole Winfield, The Seattle Times, "Vatican expert wants accountability on abuse summit agenda," 8 Oct. 2018 Laterza’s and Maxwell’s seeming complicity in the assaults and harassment that Epstein and Ailes allegedly committed is shocking, on one level, because of the trust that a female presence tends to engender. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "When Women Are Accused of Complicity," 17 Aug. 2019 There is a complicity in the president's hatred that undermines the goodness and the decency of Americans, regardless of what party. NBC News, "Meet the Press - August 4, 2019," 4 Aug. 2019 Moreover, Pakistan has never apologized or admitted any complicity in the harboring of Osama bin Laden for five years near its premier military academy. Trudy Rubin, The Mercury News, "Trudy Rubin: Trump heading for the exits in Afghanistan," 2 Aug. 2019

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

circa 1656, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for complicity

see complice

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Statistics for complicity

Last Updated

9 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for complicity

The first known use of complicity was circa 1656

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More Definitions for complicity



English Language Learners Definition of complicity

formal : the act of helping to commit a crime or do wrong in some way

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Comments on complicity

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


readily or continually undergoing change

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