com·plic·i·ty | \ kəm-ˈpli-s(ə-)tē \
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

Further, Kavanaugh argued that to require immigration authorities to stop blocking her from accessing this right would force the government into complicity. Sam Dangremond, Town & Country, "Yale Law Students and Alumni Denounce School's Support of Brett Kavanaugh," 11 July 2018 Wholehearted embrace of complicity might be more interesting. Daisy Fried, New York Times, "Sex, Death, Suffering and Surrealism, in New Books of Poetry," 6 July 2018 Some people must be immune to questions of complicity. Megan Garber, The Atlantic, "When the White House Is a Safe Space," 6 July 2018 Many who disagree with the policies and tone of Trump and his administration believe silence is complicity. Mary Jordan,, "Shaming and shunning of public officials is no longer off limits," 25 June 2018 Many who disagree with the policies and tone of Trump and his administration believe silence is complicity. Mary Jordan,, "The latest sign of political divide: shaming and shunning public officials," 24 June 2018 Now, in the wake of public outrage and horror, the DA and the police are shrugging off their complicity. Bill Torpy, ajc, "Torpy at Large: When a murderous cop has law-and-order enablers," 5 July 2018 New Philadelphia Police Chief Michael Goodwin says in a statement that Justin Brill, 18, is charged with cruelty to animals and Brent Vickers Jr., 21, is charged with complicity. Cliff Pinckard,, "2 Ohio men accused of torturing opossum with butane torch," 15 May 2018 Ex-coal baron and ex-con Don Blankenship is depicting himself as Trump’s best friend in the state — and as a victim of a conspiracy by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton that led to his imprisonment for complicity in a horrific mining disaster. Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, "GOP Primary Competition to See Who Most Fanatically Supports Trump Could Backfire in November," 9 Apr. 2018

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 2018

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Time Traveler for complicity

The first known use of complicity was circa 1656

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English Language Learners Definition of complicity

: 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).


to make amends

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