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

Last September, L'Oréal fired its first transgender model, Munroe Bergdorf, for her comments about white people's complicity in racial violence. Evelyn Wang, Teen Vogue, "Amena Khan Wears Hijab in L'Oréal Paris Hair Campaign," 17 Jan. 2018 But the structure of the dinner and, more importantly, the unifying presence of the comedian at the roast both risks complicity and allows directness. Tara Isabella Burton, Vox, "Why Michelle Wolf and Father Pat Conroy are so important.," 30 Apr. 2018 Although Townes, according to authorities, was identified as the shooter by the other two passengers who had remained in the car with Glasgow, the pastor is still being charged as an accomplice in the case under Alabama’s broad complicity statute. Kirsten West Savali, The Root, "Exclusive: Pastor Kenneth Glasgow, Beloved Voting-Rights Organizer, Speaks Out About Capital Murder Charges He Faces in Alabama: ‘I Am Innocent’," 27 Apr. 2018 But Bee also sparked a discussion about the implications of the word and the complicity of Trump, who serves as an advisor in the President's administration. Julyssa Lopez, Glamour, "There Is One Thing Samantha Bee Regrets About Calling Ivanka Trump the C-word," 24 Aug. 2018 The point is to identify all of the conspirators, and especially to establish the complicity of the most insulated leaders. Andrew C. Mccarthy, National Review, "What Did Comey Tell President Trump about the Steele Dossier?," 15 Feb. 2018 The last word on the subject may very well belong to King, who in that same sermon discussed the perils of unfettered capitalism and the complicity of advertisers in persuading people to serve themselves through wonton consumerism. Nicholas Pearce, Fortune, "Commentary: Ram Probably Should’ve Read MLK's Whole Speech Before Using It in an Ad," 5 Feb. 2018 Since then, declining oil prices, sanctions against top government officials for alleged complicity in drug trafficking and missed payments on foreign debt obligations have caused the once-prosperous economy to implode. Chris Kraul,, "As despair continues to engulf Venezuela, voters go to the polls," 19 May 2018 But as new harrowing stories come to light detailing the atrocities being carried out in Yemen, the conflict — and the US’s complicity in the violence — may become harder to ignore. Amanda Sakuma, Vox, "Saudi Arabia is reportedly outsourcing its war in Yemen to child soldiers," 30 Dec. 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

11 Mar 2019

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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

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).


the range of authority or knowledge

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