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

Synonyms for complicity


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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 Mpiranya was charged with eight counts of genocide, complicity in genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Washington Post, 14 May 2022 Guston’s later work included blunt images of hooded Ku Klux Klan figures as the artist interrogated his role as a white man–and more broadly all of white America’s complicity–in the nation’s never-ending abuse of minorities. Chadd Scott, Forbes, 1 May 2022 That’s what director Matt Reeves has done with the film, with the able assistance (or complicity, maybe) of Robert Pattinson. Bill Goodykoontz, The Arizona Republic, 28 Feb. 2022 The back of the stage is lined with mirrors, reflecting and distorting the audience — and their theoretical complicity — throughout. Maureen Lee Lenker,, 17 Feb. 2022 The siblings’ complicity — gradually rekindled after the distancing effect of his years away in Europe — is all the more touching given the cultural context of the family’s unhappy formation. Guy Lodge, Variety, 20 Nov. 2021 The following week, Coulson filed another discovery motion for his client Isaiah Beasley, a co-defendant with Conner who was indicted in August on charges of complicity to murder in the Wells case. Joe Sonka, The Courier-Journal, 23 Feb. 2022 Companies agreeing to scrub their supply chain of any touchpoints in the Uyghur Region is a step toward freeing their business — and their customers — from complicity in the Chinese government's human rights abuses. Jewher Ilham For Cnn Business Perspectives, CNN, 18 Apr. 2022 This was part of the basis for calls to rename JWST, which NASA responded to by conducting an internal investigation into Webb’s complicity in such actions. Adam Mann, Scientific American, 4 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

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

20 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Complicity.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on complicity

Nglish: Translation of complicity for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of complicity for Arabic Speakers


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