1 of 2


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

transitive verb

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


2 of 2


so·​phis·​ti·​cate sə-ˈfi-sti-kət How to pronounce sophisticate (audio)
: a sophisticated person

Example Sentences

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
Recent Examples on the Web
Dawson plays the breezy sophisticate more convincingly than the lovelorn man inside. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, 11 Sep. 2022 Nor was Ashley the only Bridgerton sophisticate gracing the Met Gala red carpet. Lauren Puckett-pope, ELLE, 3 May 2022 The movie starred Jill Clayburgh as Erica Benton, an Upper West Side sophisticate whose comfortable life unravels when her husband moves out during a midlife crisis. Kara Baskin,, 10 Apr. 2022 As for the clothes, the look is a touch ’80s sophisticate through the Chanel lens. Alison S. Cohn, Harper's BAZAAR, 10 Jan. 2022 In these books, French women are boiled down to one reductive stereotype: the thin, white, rich Parisian sophisticate in a striped shirt, trench coat and Hermès scarf. Rory Satran, WSJ, 27 Nov. 2021 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, 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, 10 Jan. 2020 The technology from [blockchain analytics] firms such as Elliptic and Chainanalysis is sophisticated as well. Matthew De Silva, Quartz, 5 Dec. 2019
The buzzy vibe at Primrose, a recent addition, skews more urban sophisticate than traditional ski town, with top-notch service to match. Cindy Hirschfeld, New York Times, 5 Jan. 2023 Whether your style is timeless sophisticate or the latest TikTok-core, there’s a great pair of knee-high boots for you. Nicola Fumo, The Hollywood Reporter, 6 Oct. 2022 Those who know Lee only as his Gi-hun character would barely recognize the dapper sophisticate sitting with excellent posture in a small greenroom. Michael Ordoñastaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 2 Aug. 2022 There is Maurice the sophisticate—a collector of vintage timepieces and museum-quality ancient Chinese ceramics, a lover of fine perfumes—but also a Maurice who was goofy and sweet, sometimes even childlike. Chris Wiley, The New Yorker, 4 May 2022 When the sophisticate’s string of pearls is mysteriously stolen en route, the mood goes from civilized sitting to human bondage in a matter of seconds. Joe Hsieh, The New Yorker, 27 Apr. 2022 The vibe is decidedly ‘urban-sophisticate’ at its most polished. Angelina Villa-clarke, Forbes, 14 Mar. 2022 And back at the Eye of the World, Rand matches wits with the Dark One, who abandons his fire-eyed guise and takes the form of a handsome sophisticate, played by actor Fares Fares. Sean T. Collins, Vulture, 24 Dec. 2021 Gomez was every inch the sophisticate during her appearance, pairing a black skirt and black cardigan with bright red lips. Elizabeth Loga, Glamour, 8 Sep. 2021 See More

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.

Word History



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

First Known Use


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1923, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near sophisticate

Cite this Entry

“Sophisticate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 verb
so·​phis·​ti·​cate sə-ˈfis-tə-ˌkāt How to pronounce sophisticate (audio)
sophisticated; sophisticating
: to cause to become sophisticated


2 of 2 noun
so·​phis·​ti·​cate sə-ˈfis-ti-kət How to pronounce sophisticate (audio)
: a sophisticated person

Medical Definition


transitive verb
so·​phis·​ti·​cate sə-ˈfis-tə-ˌkāt How to pronounce sophisticate (audio)
sophisticated; sophisticating
: to make impure : adulterate
a sophisticated oil

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