so·​phis·​ti·​cate | \ sə-ˈfi-stə-ˌkāt How to pronounce sophisticate (audio) \
sophisticated; sophisticating

Definition of sophisticate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to alter deceptively especially : adulterate
2 : to deprive of genuineness, naturalness, or simplicity especially : to deprive of naïveté and make worldly-wise : disillusion
3 : to make complicated or complex


so·​phis·​ti·​cate | \ sə-ˈfi-sti-kət How to pronounce sophisticate (audio) , -stə-ˌkāt\

Definition of sophisticate (Entry 2 of 2)

: a sophisticated person

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Synonyms & Antonyms for sophisticate

Synonyms: Verb

complex, complexify, complicate, embarrass, entangle, perplex

Synonyms: Noun

city slicker, cosmopolitan, cosmopolite, metropolitan, slicker

Antonyms: Verb

simplify, streamline

Antonyms: Noun

bumpkin, hick, provincial, rustic, yokel

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Examples of sophisticate in a Sentence


there's no need to sophisticate something that is beautiful in its simplicity vanilla extract that has been sophisticated with corn syrup


sophisticates laughing at people they thought of as hicks
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Which is to the benefit of anyone who values music at once sophisticated in content but accessible in musical gesture. Howard Reich,, "From Bernstein to Broadway to Latin jazz," 12 July 2018 But in fact, sophisticated, back-and-forth conversations are happening all around us. Joshua Rapp Learn, Smithsonian, "Some Animals Take Turns While Talking, Just Like Humans. Why?," 20 June 2018 Neither do sophisticated, authenticity-craving Parisians who choose Arles for their southern pied-à-terre. Stephen Heyman, Condé Nast Traveler, "Arles, France’s Old Arts Mecca, Is Also Its Newest," 1 May 2018 The process can be a financially and administratively painful one, but the IRS is supposed to have sophisticated computer systems that can process millions of last-minute filers. The Washington Post,, "IRS to delay tax deadline by one day after agency's Tax Day technology collapse," 17 Apr. 2018 The process can be a financially and administratively painful one, but the IRS is supposed to have sophisticated computer systems that can process millions of last-minute filers. The Washington Post,, "IRS extends tax-filing deadline after computer glitch," 17 Apr. 2018 The process can be a financially and administratively painful one, but the IRS is supposed to have sophisticated computer systems that can process millions of last-minute filers. Carol Robinson,, "70-year-old man killed in west Alabama crash," 17 Apr. 2018 While Cooper is typically sophisticated in his anti-Trump rhetoric, Cuomo attacks the president with more zeal. Brian Flood, Fox News, "CNN slashes Anderson Cooper’s program as network hopes to make room for anti-Trump Chris Cuomo," 14 Mar. 2018 Alessandro Michele’s rebrand had infused the company with flamboyance, joie de vivre, whimsy and sass, but looking at some outfits suggested Ed Hardy’s sophisticated older cousin, Édouard. Jon Caramanica, New York Times, "Is Bally More Interesting Than Gucci? Depends Who’s Tweeting," 13 Sep. 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Political analysts in the media have access to the same voter data studied by Ms. Currid-Halkett, so why does the simplistic stereotype of left-behind rural rubes battling affluent urban sophisticates prevail? WSJ, "‘Divided America’ Myth Strokes Elite Egos," 1 Jan. 2019 Yeun plays Ben, the sophisticate who dates Hae-mi and accepts Jong-su as a compatriot and confident. Tasha Robinson, The Verge, "Steven Yeun on Burning, The Walking Dead, and changing roles for Asian-Americans," 4 Nov. 2018 Third, everyone looked terribly grown-up, from Natalie Portman in Christian Dior couture to Cardi B, all slick sophisticate, in Tom Ford. Edward Barsamian, Vogue, "10 Best Dressed: Week of September 10, 2018," 10 Sep. 2018 But even 21st century sophisticates will gape at Houdini’s escapes, some of which were extraordinarily dangerous. Mary Carole Mccauley,, "Behind the magic of Harry Houdini at the Jewish Museum of Maryland," 29 June 2018 At the time, the store represented everything to which a young sophisticate could aspire. Christina Binkley, WSJ, "The Secret Inside Tiffany’s Blue Box: Reed Krakoff," 26 Mar. 2018 These are primarily between urban Eastern sophisticates and the great unwashed masses of flyover country, most of whom can no longer afford to take their family to even one football fiesta per season. Andrew Malcolm, San Francisco Chronicle, "NFL controversy is about so much more than a flag," 31 May 2018 Lindsay, the WASPy sophisticate, argued that poverty and discrimination were the root causes of the rioting and that the commission’s job was to propose ambitious programs to address these historical wrongs. Edward Kosner, WSJ, "‘Separate and Unequal’ Review: ‘Two Societies, One Black, One White’," 2 Mar. 2018 One is about well-to-do Manhattan sophisticates, the other focuses on a blue-collar family trying to make ends meet in flyover country. Kristi Turnquist,, "How 'Roseanne,' 'Westworld,' #MeToo and more make TV a culture wars battleground -- again," 17 May 2018

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


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1923, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for sophisticate


Middle English, from Medieval Latin sophisticatus, past participle of sophisticare, from Latin sophisticus sophistic, from Greek sophistikos, from sophistēs sophist

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Time Traveler for sophisticate

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

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More Definitions for sophisticate



English Language Learners Definition of sophisticate

formal : a person who has a lot of knowledge about the world and about culture, art, literature, etc. : a sophisticated person


transitive verb
so·​phis·​ti·​cate | \ sə-ˈfis-tə-ˌkāt How to pronounce sophisticate (audio) \
sophisticated; sophisticating

Medical Definition of sophisticate

: to make impure : adulterate a sophisticated oil

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More from Merriam-Webster on sophisticate

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sophisticate

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sophisticate

Britannica English: Translation of sophisticate for Arabic Speakers

Comments on sophisticate

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


one that collects or salvages junk

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