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

Other developers tell similar tales of Facebook’s lax attitude toward user data and their own naïve complicity. Frank Bajak, The Mercury News, "Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal: Data scientist drops lawsuit," 2 July 2019 Other developers tell similar tales of Facebook’s lax attitude toward user data and their own naïve complicity. Washington Post, "APNewsBreak: Data scientist drops Facebook defamation suit," 2 July 2019 But the songs turn and twist in surprising ways, and the singer undercuts his every rebellious slogan with confessions about his own complicity. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "Political Punk Rock That Protests Its Own Singer," 21 June 2019 However, her complicity in the deep-rooted and ongoing issue of sweatshop labor remains. Kim Kelly, Teen Vogue, "Garment Workers Have Organized Strikes for Over 100 Years As They Pay the Human Cost of Fashion," 8 Mar. 2019 Her appeal also stated the court should have given the jury instructions on a manslaughter charge, and that the court failed to give correct jury instructions on complicity. Carol Robinson |,, "Woman who killed husband execution-style sent to work release after less than 3 years in prison," 27 June 2019 HBO Of all the disappointing character outcomes in Game of Thrones, Grey Worm's complicity with Daenerys' slaughter of innocents has to be near the top of the list. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "13 'Game of Thrones' Questions We Still Have After the Finale," 20 May 2019 As with The Big Short and Vice, McKay humanizes these systems, attempting to show the scope for agency or complicity within them, all with his uncommon eye toward absurdity. WSJ, "Adam McKay Wants to Start a World-Improvement Conference," 21 Feb. 2019 Still, the live witness accounts pose a powerful rebuke to the current wave of historic revisionism in several eastern European countries to play down their own wartime complicity. Washington Post, "As numbers dwindle, Jews who fought Nazis recall struggle," 11 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

15 Jul 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

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