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

Keep scrolling for more

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 researchers have found that registry entries are often incomplete, and not regularly updated (a problem found in other national trial registries as well). Shreya Dasgupta, Science | AAAS, "India needs more transparency in its COVID-19 vaccine trials, critics say," 25 Nov. 2020 The dashboard on Saturday confirmed that the numbers are incomplete and thousands of reports are pending review. Kaylee Remington, cleveland, "Ohio reports 7,863 new coronavirus cases, 29 new deaths: Saturday update," 21 Nov. 2020 Data is incomplete, but district records estimate about 82% of students had attended classes regularly by the end of October, the latest officials could provide data -- meaning about 8,000 students on average were missing class. Faimon Roberts,, "New Orleans schools struggle to keep kids in class as the pandemic drags on, challenging families," 21 Nov. 2020 After video review, the play called a touchdown on the field was changed to an incomplete pass. Mark Inabinett |, al, "Auburn NFL roundup: Daniel Carlson hits clutch kick for Raiders," 9 Nov. 2020 Johnson knocked the ball out of Peters' hands prompting Baltimore to challenge the original call of incomplete pass. Chris Sims, The Indianapolis Star, "Ex-Colts coach Tony Dungy criticizes NFL's catch-rule replay decision in loss to Ravens," 9 Nov. 2020 The job growth numbers in the claim are based on incomplete data. Chelsey Cox, USA TODAY, "Fact check: Pandemic unaccounted for in chart of job growth by president," 6 Nov. 2020 Hockenson’s best route came on an incomplete pass early in the second quarter, one play after Hockenson picked up 11 yards on another tight end screen. Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press, "Why T.J. Hockenson may become Detroit Lions' No. 1 pass catcher with Kenny Golladay out," 4 Nov. 2020 And In July, the state complained that some labs were only reporting positive results, resulting in incomplete data that would ultimately misrepresent the positivity rate and the general impact of the coronavirus pandemic across communities. Paola Pérez,, "Florida adds 5,570 coronavirus cases after duplicate test data halts daily report," 11 Oct. 2020

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about incomplete

Time Traveler for incomplete

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for incomplete

Last Updated

29 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Incomplete.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for incomplete


How to pronounce incomplete (audio)

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!