in·​com·​plete | \ ˌin-kəm-ˈplēt How to pronounce incomplete (audio) \

Definition of incomplete

1 : not complete : unfinished: such as
a : lacking a usually necessary part, element, or step spoke in incomplete sentences an incomplete set of golf clubs an incomplete diet
b of protein : deficient in one or more essential amino acids People used to think you needed to eat incomplete proteins together in the same meal to make up a complete protein, but that view has been debunked; simply eat a variety of plant-based protein sources throughout the day and you'll be fine.— Katherine Hobson
c : lacking one or more sets of floral organs an incomplete flower without stamens
2 of a football pass : not legally caught
3 of insect metamorphosis : characterized by the absence of a pupal stage between the immature stages and the adult of an insect in which the young usually resemble the adult — compare complete sense 6

Other Words from incomplete

incompletely adverb
incompleteness noun

Examples of incomplete in a Sentence

an incomplete set of encyclopedias She handed in an incomplete assignment.
Recent Examples on the Web But Deutsch’s praise of bookstores is incomplete without a consideration of their commercial worldliness, halfway between the leisurely culture of ideas and the realities of business. Max Norman, The New Yorker, 6 Aug. 2022 Blagovolina also said after the hearing ended that the examination's results were incomplete, and did not show the amount of THC in the product. Tommy Mcardle, Peoplemag, 4 Aug. 2022 As President Joe Biden prepares to sign a bipartisan bill that would boost domestic manufacturing of computer chips, some advocates said the bill is incomplete without immigration provisions. Amy Nakamura, USA TODAY, 4 Aug. 2022 Plans for a graveside service to be held at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens are incomplete. Baltimore Sun, 1 Aug. 2022 Many records of missing ​Indigenous persons were incomplete or outdated because the record was not updated once additional details were made available or once the person was located, according to the FBI. Arlyssa D. Becenti, The Arizona Republic, 26 July 2022 Magnus said the process was incomplete, as the employees have been given the materials and the right to reply. Adam Shaw, Fox News, 21 July 2022 The study said the discovery adds to our knowledge of Parthian archaeology and history, which remains markedly incomplete, despite its evident significance as a major power in the ancient Near East. Katie Hunt, CNN, 19 July 2022 Recovery remains incomplete, but the park’s collapse and ongoing restoration shows how human and ecological well-being are intertwined. New York Times, 13 Apr. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'incomplete.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of incomplete

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for incomplete

Middle English incompleet, from Late Latin incompletus, from Latin in- + completus complete

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The first known use of incomplete was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

14 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Incomplete.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for incomplete


in·​com·​plete | \ ˌin-kəm-ˈplēt How to pronounce incomplete (audio) \

Kids Definition of incomplete

: not finished : not complete

Other Words from incomplete

incompletely adverb


in·​com·​plete | \ ˌin-kəm-ˈplēt How to pronounce incomplete (audio) \

Medical Definition of incomplete

1 of insect metamorphosis : having no pupal stage between the immature stages and the adult with the young insect usually resembling the adult — compare complete sense 1
2 of a bone fracture : not broken entirely across — compare complete sense 2
3 of a protein : deficient in one or more essential amino acids — compare complete sense 3
4 : characterized by incomplete dominance an incomplete trait

More from Merriam-Webster on incomplete

Nglish: Translation of incomplete for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of incomplete for Arabic Speakers


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