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 : lacking one or more sets of floral organs an incomplete flower without stamens
c 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
2 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
3 of a football pass : not legally caught

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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

The researchers observed, however, that their list was almost certainly incomplete, in part because the true number of treatments is unknown. Michael Hiltzik,, "A gruesome case study points to the hazards of stem cell tourism," 10 July 2019 Examiners found some payments, called disbursement listings in the audit report, were incomplete and noted that 18 transactions totaling more than $1.4 million were missing from listings provided to the Comptroller’s Office. Stephen Hudak,, "Orange County comptroller’s audit recommends transparency requirements for Visit Orlando," 9 July 2019 The lack of acceleration in wage growth suggests that this recovery is still incomplete. Washington Post, "U.S. economy added 224,000 jobs and the unemployment rate is 3.7%.," 5 July 2019 Plans for a celebration of Mr. Hayes’ life, to be held in July, are incomplete. Frederick N. Rasmussen,, "Stephen R. Hayes, a professional actor and director whose career spanned more than 40 years, dies," 3 July 2019 Service times and funeral arrangements are incomplete. Emma Keith, Detroit Free Press, "Longtime Grosse Pointe Farms councilman Peter Waldmeir dies at 65," 1 July 2019 In a June 14 story about former Northwestern basketball coach Ricky Byrdsong, the details of the death of his killer, Benjamin Smith, were incomplete., "Corrections and clarifications," 28 June 2019 And yet, as Greengross noted in a review of Inside Jokes, even this theory is incomplete. Giovanni Sabato, Scientific American, "What’s So Funny? The Science of Why We Laugh," 26 June 2019 Charbonnet-Labat-Galpion Funeral Home will be in charge of the funeral arrangements, which are incomplete. John Pope,, "Dave Bartholomew, New Orleans composer who helped create rock ‘n’ roll, dies at 100," 23 June 2019

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.

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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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Statistics for incomplete

Last Updated

13 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for incomplete

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

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More Definitions for incomplete



English Language Learners Definition of incomplete

: lacking some part : not finished : not complete
American football, of a forward pass : not caught by the player the ball was thrown to


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

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