in·​tri·​cate | \ ˈin-tri-kət How to pronounce intricate (audio) \

Definition of intricate

1 : having many complexly interrelating parts or elements : complicated intricate machinery an intricate plot
2 : difficult to resolve or analyze

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Other Words from intricate

intricately adverb
intricateness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for intricate

complex, complicated, intricate, involved, knotty mean having confusingly interrelated parts. complex suggests the unavoidable result of a necessary combining and does not imply a fault or failure. a complex recipe complicated applies to what offers great difficulty in understanding, solving, or explaining. complicated legal procedures intricate suggests such interlacing of parts as to make it nearly impossible to follow or grasp them separately. an intricate web of deceit involved implies extreme complication and often disorder. a rambling, involved explanation knotty suggests complication and entanglement that make solution or understanding improbable. knotty ethical questions

Examples of intricate in a Sentence

Filigree is an ancient technique that creates an intricate, lace-like pattern through the combination of wire swirls and shapes. — Jeanne Rhodes-Moen, Step by Step Wire Jewelry, Fall 2007 Tsunami generation involves intricate interactions among earthquakes, landslides, and "sympathetic" vibrations between the quake and the ocean above it. — Robert Koenig, Science, 17 Aug. 2001 However, other random processes can be quite intricate; for example, the fluctuating prices of stocks are difficult to explain because there are so many variables and combinations of variables that are influencing the prices. — Lloyd Jaisingh, Statistics for the Utterly Confused, 2000 The movie has an intricate plot. an intricate machine that requires some training to use it properly
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Recent Examples on the Web The most crucial — and expensive — pieces of equipment in the factory are the lithography machines that print the intricate designs on the wafers. Washington Post, 7 July 2021 Known for her intricate structured designs, Rosantica’s designer Michela Panero worked with a team of artisans in Italy for countless hours to perfectly portray her favorite monuments. Angela Lei, Forbes, 24 June 2021 The intricate, bold designs are symbolic of the gastronomic culture. Dallas News, 21 June 2021 Forust’s technology deposits a binding agent made with lignin – the organic polymer byproduct of the paper industry – over thin layers of sawdust to create intricate designs, one layer at a time. Lindsey Mcginnis, The Christian Science Monitor, 9 June 2021 Speaking with Artnet News, Biggers points out that references to the Atlantic Slave Trade appear throughout the Rockefeller complex’s intricate Art Deco designs, which were crafted in the mid-20th century. Nora Mcgreevy, Smithsonian Magazine, 11 May 2021 Typical scenes from Sicilian history and folklore, alongside intricate and colorful geometrical designs, decorated every detail of the cart, from the wheels to the sideboards. Irene Dominioni, Forbes, 29 June 2021 The timepiece’s intricate inner workings rival that of a high-octane street racer, too. Rachel Cormack, Robb Report, 17 June 2021 Assane’s intricate schemes unfurl like delightful magic tricks or Rube Goldberg machines (many episodes replay these setups in order to reveal all the moving parts) rather than puzzle boxes designed to keep viewers confused. Judy Berman, Time, 10 June 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'intricate.' 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 intricate

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for intricate

Middle English, from Latin intricatus, past participle of intricare to entangle, from in- + tricae trifles, complications

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Time Traveler for intricate

Time Traveler

The first known use of intricate was in the 15th century

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Statistics for intricate

Last Updated

20 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Intricate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jul. 2021.

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More Definitions for intricate



English Language Learners Definition of intricate

: having many parts


in·​tri·​cate | \ ˈin-tri-kət How to pronounce intricate (audio) \

Kids Definition of intricate

1 : having many closely combined parts or elements an intricate design
2 : very difficult to follow or understand an intricate plot

Other Words from intricate

intricately adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on intricate

Nglish: Translation of intricate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of intricate for Arabic Speakers


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