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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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 The attorney for the student who is now a doctor says the account shows the complicity of the university. David Jesse, Detroit Free Press, "Ex-medical student's assault story may reveal how U-M doctor fooled patients," 13 May 2020 Three men are facing trial for carrying out the assassination, while a fourth, prominent Maltese businessman Yorgen Fenech, has been charged with complicity in the murder., "Malta's Labor Party Picks New Chief After Reporter's Slaying," 10 May 2020 The pair gazed into each other’s eyes with the insular complicity of newlyweds, unscathed by the rain falling around them like glittering confetti. Rebecca Mead, The New Yorker, "Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s Fractured Fairy Tale," 13 Apr. 2020 Raful was eventually charged with complicity to murder, but on Thursday, Jefferson Circuit Judge Brian Edwards amended down the murder charge after Raful entered a guilty plea. Billy Kobin, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville man sentenced to 12 years in prison for Fern Creek drug deal that turned fatal," 13 Mar. 2020 Whenever testimony gets close to the complicity of a person or country in the CIA’s torture program, a red light flashes and white noise floods the public gallery. Dror Ladin, Time, "There's So Much We Still Don't Know About the CIA's Torture Program. Here's How the Government Is Keeping the Full Story a Secret," 7 Feb. 2020 Get our daily newsletter Mr Muscat announced his resignation the day after a local tycoon, Yorgen Fenech, was charged with complicity in the killing. The Economist, "Malta’s prime minister is ousted by a murdered journalist’s work," 5 Dec. 2019 In a parting shot, the analyst dispatched the Encore case file to the new unit with one last, forceful summary, laying out in 16 pages everything that the team found about suspected Saudi complicity in the plot. Tim Golden, ProPublica, "Operation Encore and the Saudi Connection: A Secret History of the 9/11 Investigation," 23 Jan. 2020 Further reporting only deepened Luhnow's complicity. Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, "Opinion: Will Jeff Luhnow and A.J. Hinch work in baseball again? A jury of peers will decide," 2 Apr. 2020

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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Time Traveler for complicity

Time Traveler

The first known use of complicity was circa 1656

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Statistics for complicity

Last Updated

2 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Complicity.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for complicity


How to pronounce complicity (audio)

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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