so·​phis·​ti·​cat·​ed | \sə-ˈfi-stə-ˌkā-təd \

Definition of sophisticated 

1 : deprived of native or original simplicity: such as

a : highly complicated or developed : complex sophisticated electronic devices

b : having a refined knowledge of the ways of the world cultivated especially through wide experience a sophisticated lady

2 : devoid of grossness: such as

a : finely experienced and aware a sophisticated columnist

b : intellectually appealing a sophisticated novel

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Other Words from sophisticated

sophisticatedly adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for sophisticated


debonair, smooth, suave, svelte, urbane


boorish, churlish, classless, clownish, loutish, uncouth

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Choose the Right Synonym for sophisticated

sophisticated, worldly-wise, blasé mean experienced in the ways of the world. sophisticated often implies refinement, urbanity, cleverness, and cultivation. guests at her salon were usually rich and sophisticated worldly-wise suggests a close and practical knowledge of the affairs and manners of society and an inclination toward materialism. a worldly-wise woman with a philosophy of personal independence blasé implies a lack of responsiveness to common joys as a result of a real or affected surfeit of experience and cultivation. blasé travelers who claimed to have been everywhere

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A sophisticated argument is thorough and well-worked-out. A satellite is a sophisticated piece of technology, complex and designed to accomplish difficult tasks. A sophisticated person, such as Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca, knows how to get around in the world. But sophistication isn't always admired. As you might guess, the word is closely related to sophistry (see above), and its original meanings weren't very positive, and still today many of us aren't sure we really like sophisticates.

Examples of sophisticated in a Sentence

Puck's mix of casual and sophisticated elements has become the most prevalent style of L.A. dining today. — Harvey Steiman, Wine Spectator, 31 Mar. 2009 Sophisticated investors took Moody's and S&P's word for it, and it turned out that the agencies didn't know what they were doing. — Andy Serwer et al., Time, 29 Sept. 2008 "These students want the amenities they grew up with at home—their own rooms, their own baths, along with some of the finer things in life. They're a more sophisticated consumer." — Camille Sweeney, New York Times Real Estate Magazine, Spring 2007 Sonar devices can locate an enemy's sophisticated, almost-silent diesel submarines by, ironically, making a deafening noise—sometimes above 230 decibels, as loud as a Saturn V rocket blasting off. — Dick Russell, Mother Jones, March & April 2006 She was a sophisticated and well-traveled woman. a swank and sophisticated restaurant Her knitting technique is more sophisticated than mine.
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Recent Examples on the Web

These systems are not sophisticated enough to distinguish a stationary object on the road from one that's next to or above the road. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Another Tesla with Autopilot crashed into a stationary object—the driver is suing," 30 Oct. 2018 On the one hand, self-driving systems are not yet sophisticated enough to differentiate between, say, young and old people. James Vincent, The Verge, "Global preferences for who to save in self-driving car crashes revealed," 24 Oct. 2018 Despite that, al-Sadr’s sophisticated political machine mobilized his loyal base of followers to go to the polls. Philip Issa, USA TODAY, "Early results in Iraq election favor populist cleric al-Sadr," 14 May 2018 Together, these sophisticated machines beam us data, sound and images; snap photos; and keep us from getting lost. John Kelly, Washington Post, "When D.C.’s Intelsat building blasted off, it gained a lot of admirers," 28 Apr. 2018 Highly Skilled Hackers North Korea’s cyber army, long considered a midlevel security threat, is quietly morphing into one of the world’s most sophisticated and dangerous hacking machines. Gerard Baker, WSJ, "The 10-Point.," 20 Apr. 2018 Eloquii may be best known for their quirky yet sophisticated clothing, but their lingerie offerings are equally as stylish. Shammara Lawrence, Teen Vogue, "9 Size-Inclusive Lingerie Brands to Support Instead of Victoria's Secret," 14 Nov. 2018 Brooks' emotional response to seeing Julianne before the ceremony in her simple and sophisticated wedding dress is beyond heartwarming, as his knees nearly hit the floor. Katina Beniaris, Country Living, "Brooks Laich's Reaction When He Sees His Bride Julianne Hough Is Everything," 13 July 2018 Coinbase, which declined to comment, also caters to institutional and sophisticated investors, a demographic that is unlikely to be represented among Chime customers, many of whom are attracted by free debit cards and paycheck advance offerings. Jen Wieczner, Fortune, "Some Cryptocurrency Investors Are Giving Up on Bitcoin—and Cashing Out of Coinbase," 29 June 2018

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

1601, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for sophisticated

Medieval Latin sophisticatus

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Last Updated

6 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for sophisticated

The first known use of sophisticated was in 1601

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English Language Learners Definition of sophisticated

: having or showing a lot of experience and knowledge about the world and about culture, art, literature, etc.

: attractive to fashionable or sophisticated people

: highly developed and complex


so·​phis·​ti·​cat·​ed | \sə-ˈfi-stə-ˌkā-təd \

Kids Definition of sophisticated

1 : very complicated sophisticated electronic devices

2 : having a lot of knowledge about the world especially through experience

3 : appealing to a person's intelligence a sophisticated novel

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