Synonym Chooser

How does the adjective intricate differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of intricate are complex, complicated, involved, and knotty. While all these words mean "having confusingly interrelated parts," intricate suggests such interlacing of parts as to make it nearly impossible to follow or grasp them separately.

an intricate web of deceit

When could complex be used to replace intricate?

In some situations, the words complex and intricate are roughly equivalent. However, complex suggests the unavoidable result of a necessary combining and does not imply a fault or failure.

a complex recipe

When is complicated a more appropriate choice than intricate?

The words complicated and intricate are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, complicated applies to what offers great difficulty in understanding, solving, or explaining.

complicated legal procedures

Where would involved be a reasonable alternative to intricate?

The words involved and intricate can be used in similar contexts, but involved implies extreme complication and often disorder.

a rambling, involved explanation

When might knotty be a better fit than intricate?

The synonyms knotty and intricate are sometimes interchangeable, but knotty suggests complication and entanglement that make solution or understanding improbable.

knotty ethical questions

Thesaurus Entries Near intricate

Cite this Entry

“Intricate.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Dec. 2023.

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