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

Without a minimum of trust, any deal would be either cosmetic, incomplete or doomed to fail. Andrew Kydd, Washington Post, "Promises on North Korea are easy to make but hard to keep. Here’s why.," 7 June 2018 Sponsor is not responsible for lost, late, misdirected, incomplete or inaccurate entries. House Beautiful, "April 2018 Name This Color Contest," 2 Jan. 2018 Newsletter Sign-up Société Générale avoided detection, in part, by making inaccurate or incomplete notations on payment messages that accompanied the transactions, prosecutors alleged. Samuel Rubenfeld, WSJ, "Société Générale to Pay $1.3 Billion to Resolve U.S. Sanctions, Money-Laundering Violations," 19 Nov. 2018 This was all suspicious, but unless someone who actually attended the meeting cracked, there was no way for reporters or anyone in Mueller’s office to really find out whether the official line was incomplete or even outright false. Zack Beauchamp, Vox, "Paul Manafort is the first Trump Tower meeting attendee to flip," 14 Sep. 2018 The article makes very clear that SimCity's NES version is incomplete, and as a result, its videos and explanations are arguably an easier way to explore the game than trying to load it yourself. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "You can now download the long-lost (and unfinished) SimCity NES port," 26 Dec. 2018 Critics have long warned that the data may be incomplete, in part because it is based on voluntary reporting by police agencies across the country. Michael Balsamo, The Seattle Times, "FBI report shows 17 percent spike in hate crimes in 2017," 13 Nov. 2018 Though incomplete, my first impression of the sound was a positive one. Vlad Savov, The Verge, "Bang & Olufsen’s Edge speaker can be rolled to adjust the volume," 29 Aug. 2018 So the racist tropes of blackness are, here’s a culture that’s incomplete, in which the culture is making them make the wrong decisions. Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "100 years of the American left in 5 minutes, with Sorry to Bother You director Boots Riley," 27 July 2018

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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Last Updated

9 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for incomplete

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

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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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Comments on incomplete

What made you want to look up incomplete? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to corrupt or become corrupted

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