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

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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 An incomplete -- and shortened -- rotation, with Darius Garland, Collin Sexton, Larry Nance Jr., Jarrett Allen, Damyean Dotson and Dylan Windler all watching from the bench in street clothes. Chris Fedor, cleveland, "Cleveland Cavaliers nearly pull off improbable upset before fading late and falling to New Orleans Pelicans, 116-109," 11 Apr. 2021 The current inability to produce high-quality health data is troubling: The products are woefully incomplete, hopelessly fragmented, and relatively unavailable. Peter Hovstadius, STAT, "Lessons from Nordic countries can accelerate the impact of AI in medicine," 30 Mar. 2021 The goods and services that were delivered were incomplete, shoddy, substandard, or done in an unworkmanlike manner, the lawsuit states. Briana Rice, The Enquirer, "Ohio AG sues West Chester contractor, accuses him of scamming Dayton tornado victims," 16 Mar. 2021 If past documents are incomplete, unverifiable or incorrect, no one will likely pay top dollar for your business. Joseph Safina, Forbes, "How To Increase Your Company's Value," 5 Mar. 2021 The data about who gets a coronavirus vaccination is notoriously incomplete — race and ethnicity categories are often missing, for example. Mallory Moench, San Francisco Chronicle, "More Bay Area women are getting vaccinated than men. Here's why," 4 Feb. 2021 The truth is that this is a misguided, incomplete, and genuinely harmful way of thinking about health, wellness, and healthy eating. Carolyn Kylstra, SELF, "What Is ‘Healthy Eating,’ Anyway?," 18 Jan. 2021 Nowhere near as dickish as Kuzco, but just—a little ungrateful, incomplete. Jason Kehe, Wired, "What You Lose When You Turn Into an Animal," 18 Jan. 2021 In addition, there have been almost 500,000 unexpected deaths globally over the past year, a review of mortality data in 35 countries shows — providing a clearer, if still incomplete, picture of the toll of the crisis. New York Times, "There have now been over two million virus-related deaths worldwide.," 15 Jan. 2021

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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Time Traveler for incomplete

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for incomplete

Last Updated

16 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Incomplete.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Apr. 2021.

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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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Comments on incomplete

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