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 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 Neither do sophisticated, authenticity-craving Parisians who choose Arles for their southern pied-à-terre. Stephen Heyman, Condé Nast Traveler, "Arles, France’s Old Arts Mecca, Is Also Its Newest," 1 May 2018 The process can be a financially and administratively painful one, but the IRS is supposed to have sophisticated computer systems that can process millions of last-minute filers. The Washington Post,, "IRS to delay tax deadline by one day after agency's Tax Day technology collapse," 17 Apr. 2018 The process can be a financially and administratively painful one, but the IRS is supposed to have sophisticated computer systems that can process millions of last-minute filers. The Washington Post,, "IRS extends tax-filing deadline after computer glitch," 17 Apr. 2018 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Neither strivers nor sophisticates, these chronically broke 20-somethings dropped out of high school the minute they were legally permitted to do so. Judy Berman, Time, "Florida Girls Is the Most Fun You'll Have in Front of the TV This Summer," 9 July 2019 A decade ago, Moscow sophisticates wouldn’t be caught dead trying to order samogon in a bar. Washington Post, "Pass the lilac jam, please. Russian foodies explore tastes from the pre-Soviet past.," 26 June 2019 Outside the cities, people feel as if they are sneered at by greedy, self-serving urban sophisticates. The Economist, "The global crisis in conservatism," 4 July 2019 The government’s apologists have been deriding them as out-of-touch sophisticates. The Economist, "Kazakhstan’s choreographed election goes off-script," 15 June 2019 Urbanites defined themselves as forward-looking sophisticates who sneered at yokels in backwaters; cosmopolitanism faced off against parochialism. Sarah Churchwell, The New York Review of Books, "America’s Original Identity Politics," 7 Feb. 2019 Sydney There’s nothing like a shock election result to force media sophisticates to eat their words. Tom Switzer, WSJ, "Australia’s Left Loses an Election It Was Sure to Win," 19 May 2019 Political analysts in the media have access to the same voter data studied by Ms. Currid-Halkett, so why does the simplistic stereotype of left-behind rural rubes battling affluent urban sophisticates prevail? WSJ, "‘Divided America’ Myth Strokes Elite Egos," 1 Jan. 2019 Yeun plays Ben, the sophisticate who dates Hae-mi and accepts Jong-su as a compatriot and confident. Tasha Robinson, The Verge, "Steven Yeun on Burning, The Walking Dead, and changing roles for Asian-Americans," 4 Nov. 2018

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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Statistics for sophisticate

Time Traveler for sophisticate

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

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on sophisticate

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sophisticate

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sophisticate

Britannica English: Translation of sophisticate for Arabic Speakers

Comments on sophisticate

What made you want to look up sophisticate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


meddlesome, informal, or unofficial

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