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 Possible changes to college football include running the clock after first downs and after incomplete passes. Paul Myerberg, USA TODAY, 27 May 2022 Starting this week, the clock will keep running on incomplete passes in the first and third quarters. Ryan Ford, Detroit Free Press, 6 May 2022 His defense stuffed the Tide on the first play of its next drive before two incomplete passes meant a three-and-out punt with blood in the water. Michael Casagrande |, al, 11 Jan. 2022 In the first half, Mayfield threw 10 straight incomplete passes, going nearly 25 minutes without a completion. Ashley Bastock, cleveland, 3 Jan. 2022 After two incomplete passes, Matt Araiza put SDSU ahead with a 33-yard field goal. UPDATE 7:46 p.m. Dennis Rudner, San Antonio Express-News, 21 Dec. 2021 But after four incomplete passes, Serra had turned the tables on the Lancers, who three weeks earlier had beaten the Padres 44-21 in a game that decided the West Catholic Athletic League title. Mitch Stephens, San Francisco Chronicle, 27 Nov. 2021 After a 5-yard penalty on the Cowboys and two incomplete passes from the Trojans, Johnson was sent out for MHS to attempt a 41-yard field goal. Emily Miller | Special To The Tribune, The Salt Lake Tribune, 14 Nov. 2021 One there, though, two incomplete passes led to another 32-yard field goal attempt from Robinson, but his kick slid wide right. Randy Mcroberts,, 13 Nov. 2021 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

27 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Incomplete.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Jul. 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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