so·​phis·​ti·​cat·​ed sə-ˈfi-stə-ˌkā-təd How to pronounce sophisticated (audio)
: deprived of native or original simplicity: such as
: highly complicated or developed : complex
sophisticated electronic devices
: having a refined knowledge of the ways of the world cultivated especially through wide experience
a sophisticated lady
: devoid of grossness: such as
: finely experienced and aware
a sophisticated columnist
: intellectually appealing
a sophisticated novel
sophisticatedly adverb

Did you know?

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.

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

Example Sentences

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web In a sea of political dramas that tend to lean into the same tropes, Danish import Borgen is a sophisticated, bleak, and consistently authentic entry in the genre. Jihane Bousfiha, Men's Health, 20 Jan. 2023 But new formulations are far more sophisticated — and customizable. Megan Mcintyre, Allure, 19 Jan. 2023 Hauls the whole crew, sophisticated on-road demeanor, ready to cross Namibia. Joe Lorio, Car and Driver, 19 Jan. 2023 An archaeologist counters centuries of myth with evidence that the Vikings were sophisticated, ethnically diverse, and cosmopolitan. The Week Staff, The Week, 16 Jan. 2023 The two work together through the autumn mists and winter snow to unearth the ambrosial tubers, treasures that are shaved onto pastas, grated into sauces or infused into oils for the most sophisticated, and wealthy, palates. Jason Horowitz,, 14 Jan. 2023 The two work together through the autumn mists and winter snow to unearth the ambrosial tubers, treasures that are shaved onto pastas, grated into sauces or infused into oils for the most sophisticated, and wealthy, palates. Jason Horowitz, New York Times, 14 Jan. 2023 Ariel is adventurous, sophisticated, unapologetically herself and is looking for a man who can match her energy! Stephanie Wenger, Peoplemag, 4 Jan. 2023 From fresh to cozy, sophisticated to shabby chic, white is classy, adaptable, and timeless. Kelly Ryan Kegans, Country Living, 4 Jan. 2023 See More

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.

Word History


Medieval Latin sophisticatus

First Known Use

1601, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of sophisticated was in 1601

Dictionary Entries Near sophisticated

Cite this Entry

“Sophisticated.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 Jan. 2023.

Kids Definition


so·​phis·​ti·​cat·​ed sə-ˈfis-tə-ˌkāt-əd How to pronounce sophisticated (audio)
: deprived of native or original plainness
: very complicated : complex
sophisticated instruments
: worldly-wise, knowing
a sophisticated young graduate
: finely experienced and aware
a sophisticated observer
: appealing to one's intelligence
a sophisticated novel
sophisticatedly adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on sophisticated

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