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

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Noun

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Examples of sophisticate in a Sentence

Verb there's no need to sophisticate something that is beautiful in its simplicity vanilla extract that has been sophisticated with corn syrup Noun sophisticates laughing at people they thought of as hicks
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Intensive care units have sophisticated equipment, such as bedside machines to monitor a patient’s heart rate and ventilators to help them breathe. USA TODAY, "Amid coronavirus pandemic, millions of older Americans live in counties with no ICU beds," 20 Mar. 2020 Both sides, after all, rely on these tools, and there is an argument to be made that Democrats need them in order to close the gap with Mr. Trump’s sophisticated digital operation. Kevin Roose, New York Times, "Buckle Up for Another Facebook Election," 10 Jan. 2020 The technology from [blockchain analytics] firms such as Elliptic and Chainanalysis is sophisticated as well. Matthew De Silva, Quartz, "Bitcoin money laundering is a classically dumb crime," 5 Dec. 2019 In terms of hair, Turner opted to wear it down in loose waves with a middle part — simple, sweet, and sophisticated all at once. Kaleigh Fasanella, Allure, "Sophie Turner and Joe Jonas Just Shared Their First Wedding Photos," 5 July 2019 Purdue and the family’s sophisticated, multibillion-dollar investment operations have been under increasing scrutiny as lawsuits mount. Jared S. Hopkins, WSJ, "At Purdue Pharma, Business Slumps as Opioid Lawsuits Mount," 30 June 2019 As a younger woman in the ’50s and ’60s making films like Le Bonheur and La Pointe Courte, she was poised and sophisticated yet playful, wearing feather trim, layered necklaces, and graphic prints. Brooke Bobb, Vogue, "With Her Rebellious Fashion Sense, Agnès Varda Was One for the Ages," 29 Mar. 2019 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun But early on, the transplanted Frenchman was more showman than sophisticate. Sarah L. Kaufman, Washington Post, "Camels, monkeys and lions at the ballet: Marius Petipa was just getting started," 5 May 2020 This exuberant magnum opus made a big splash when it was published in 1996 and became required reading for young, brainy sophisticates. Brandon Griggs, CNN, "15 epic books you may finally have time to read now," 10 May 2020 Amy Irving stars as Izzy, a downtown woman who’s moved uptown and fancies herself a sophisticate. New York Times, "What to Stream on Valentine’s Day," 13 Feb. 2020 On-road, the Compass is not an off-road warrior like the Wrangler, nor an urbane sophisticate like the Grand Cherokee. cleveland, "This cheap Jeep is sure to break your heart (review)," 2 May 2020 The film starts with a dozen people waking up in what appears to be a central Arkansas clearing, deposited there by ruthless, urban sophisticates. Mark Kennedy, Detroit Free Press, "‘The Hunt’ is a clunky swipe at a divided US," 12 Mar. 2020 Saul came to function as an exterminator of the kind of refined sensibility that separated the sophisticates from the yahoos in haut-bourgeois twentieth-century America. Peter Schjeldahl, The New Yorker, "The In-Your-Face Paintings of Peter Saul," 10 Feb. 2020 In the jazz world, to record for ECM was to enter a community of the elect, bridging gaps between freewheeling European sophisticates and veteran American progressives. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, "The Pristine Empire of ECM Records," 25 Nov. 2019 One can imagine a 60-point scoring outburst or more —perhaps before a pack of L.A. celebrities or the sophisticates at Madison Square Garden. Bruce Jenkins,, "Warriors’ Steph Curry will fire away this season: Can he be stopped?," 8 Oct. 2019

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

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for sophisticate

Cite this Entry

“Sophisticate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for sophisticate


How to pronounce sophisticate (audio)

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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Britannica English: Translation of sophisticate for Arabic Speakers

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