sophisticated

adjective

so·​phis·​ti·​cat·​ed sə-ˈfi-stə-ˌkā-təd How to pronounce sophisticated (audio)
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
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

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.
Recent Examples on the Web The result was the SLR McLaren, a muscular yet sophisticated coupé and roadster. Bryan Hood, Robb Report, 8 Apr. 2024 This theory centered a relatively sophisticated mind as the defining attribute of our species, and thus was consistent with ancient hierarchical taxonomies that placed man, with his ability to reason, apart from and above the beasts. Rebecca Mead, The New Yorker, 8 Apr. 2024 Theft of up to $30 million from L.A. vault was seamless, sophisticated, stealthy. Defne Karabatur, Los Angeles Times, 6 Apr. 2024 The Minimalist Mule With a Preppy Barn Jacket Comfy and chic, who wouldn’t want to slip into a pair of minimalist suede mules this spring, like this sophisticated style from The Row? Laura Jackson, Vogue, 4 Apr. 2024 That sophisticated testing is used to offer treatments tailored to an individual’s specific genes. Harriet Blair Rowan, The Mercury News, 3 Apr. 2024 That is triple the 32 sensors NOAA installed in the Southeast region as part of its National Water Level Observing Network – a sophisticated system that measures sea level rise. Ella Nilsen, CNN, 2 Apr. 2024 It is widely agreed that Ukraine needs to rebuild its domestic defense industry so that its military will not have to rely for years to come on the West, which has at times hesitated to send sophisticated weapons systems — including air defenses, tanks and long-range missiles. Lara Jakes, New York Times, 2 Apr. 2024 One of its most impressive achievements has been creating a sophisticated online global recruitment campaign through its media outlet, Al-Azaim Media. Fatema Hosseini, USA TODAY, 2 Apr. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'sophisticated.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sophisticated. Accessed 17 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

sophisticated

adjective
so·​phis·​ti·​cat·​ed sə-ˈfis-tə-ˌkāt-əd How to pronounce sophisticated (audio)
1
a
: deprived of native or original plainness
b
: very complicated : complex
sophisticated instruments
c
: worldly-wise, knowing
a sophisticated young graduate
2
a
: finely experienced and aware
a sophisticated observer
b
: appealing to one's intelligence
a sophisticated novel
sophisticatedly adverb

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