complete

1 of 2

adjective

com·​plete kəm-ˈplēt How to pronounce complete (audio)
completer; completest
1
a
: having all necessary parts, elements, or steps
a complete diet
b
of a protein : containing all essential amino acids
Beans and grains combined together form a complete protein.
2
a
: total, absolute
complete silence
b
: fully carried out : thorough
a complete renovation
c
of a football pass : legally caught
3
: brought to an end : concluded
a complete period of time
4
: highly proficient
a complete artist
5
of a subject or predicate : including modifiers, complements, or objects
6
of insect metamorphosis : characterized by the occurrence of a pupal stage between the motile immature stages and the adult compare incomplete sense 3
7
: having all four sets of floral organs
8
of a metric space : having the property that every Cauchy sequence of elements converges to a limit in the space
completely adverb
completeness noun
completive adjective

complete

2 of 2

verb

completed; completing

transitive verb

1
: to bring to an end and especially into a perfected state
complete a painting
2
a
: to make whole or perfect
Its song completes the charm of the bird.
Her latest purchase completes her collection.
b
: to mark the end of
A rousing chorus completes the show.
c
: execute, fulfill
complete a contract
3
: to carry out (a forward pass) successfully
The quarterback completed 12 out of 18 passes.
Phrases
complete with
: made complete by the inclusion of
a birthday cake complete with candles
Choose the Right Synonym for complete

Adjective

full, complete, plenary, replete mean containing all that is wanted or needed or possible.

full implies the presence or inclusion of everything that is wanted or required by something or that can be held, contained, or attained by it.

a full schedule

complete applies when all that is needed is present.

a complete picture of the situation

plenary adds to complete the implication of fullness without qualification.

given plenary power

replete implies being filled to the brim or to satiety.

replete with delightful details

Verb

close, end, conclude, finish, complete, terminate mean to bring or come to a stopping point or limit.

close usually implies that something has been in some way open as well as unfinished.

close a debate

end conveys a strong sense of finality.

ended his life

conclude may imply a formal closing (as of a meeting).

the service concluded with a blessing

finish may stress completion of a final step in a process.

after it is painted, the house will be finished

complete implies the removal of all deficiencies or a successful finishing of what has been undertaken.

the resolving of this last issue completes the agreement

terminate implies the setting of a limit in time or space.

your employment terminates after three months

Example Sentences

Adjective He spoke in complete sentences. They sat in complete silence. Verb The project took four months to complete. Her latest purchase completes her collection. The new baby completed their family. The quarterback completed 12 out of 15 passes. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
Here's a complete list of this week's offerings, some season highlights and some fun stuff. Melanie Laughman, The Enquirer, 27 Jan. 2023 On Friday, The Brooklyn 99 alum documented her home renovation progress on Instagram, revealing that the project is almost complete. Hannah Chubb, Peoplemag, 25 Jan. 2023 By then, the rehabilitation of Mr. Modi’s image within India was almost complete. Sameer Yasir, New York Times, 25 Jan. 2023 Here is the complete list of semifinalists for Best Chef: Northeast Robert Andreozzi, Pizza Marvin, Providence Paul Callahan, Vino e Vivo, Exeter, N.H. Kara Baskin, BostonGlobe.com, 25 Jan. 2023 Previous James Beard Award winners from Alabama include: For the complete list of this year’s restaurant and chef semifinalists, go here. Bob Carlton | Bcarlton@al.com, al, 25 Jan. 2023 This almost-complete skull is festooned with hornlike spikes, an unusual configuration for this dinosaur, which was determined in 2006 to be a previously unknown type of Pachycephalosaurus. Stephen C. George, Discover Magazine, 24 Jan. 2023 Find the complete list of last year’s winners here. Carly Thomas, The Hollywood Reporter, 24 Jan. 2023 After notifying relatives, authorities on Tuesday released the complete list of the 11 people killed in the Monterey Park, California, mass shooting. Julius Lasin, USA TODAY, 24 Jan. 2023
Verb
Along with the settlement, the team agreed to complete the movie with Matthew now on board as an executive producer. Jen Juneau, Peoplemag, 19 Jan. 2023 Instead, youths for weeks were given packets of worksheets to complete on their own, the Free Press has reported. Christine Macdonald, Detroit Free Press, 19 Jan. 2023 Therefore, my gastroenterologist has been unable to complete a colonoscopy on me. Dr. Keith Roach, oregonlive, 16 Jan. 2023 For instance, in a related study, one of us found that work teams whose members know one another, communicate well and share responsibilities improve their ability to complete work on time and with fewer errors. Mark Clark, The Conversation, 10 Jan. 2023 While many residents have mobile internet access, the forms can be difficult to complete on a smartphone — particularly for individuals who already feel uncomfortable using the device. Erica E. Phillips, Hartford Courant, 8 Jan. 2023 Their power play was scored upon, too, allowing Noah Cates to complete a Philadelphia comeback on a long shot that got past a screened Jonathan Quick at 13:01 of the third period. Helene Elliott, Los Angeles Times, 31 Dec. 2022 Save up to 15 minutes by visiting RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass to complete your pre-donation reading and health history questions on the day of your appointment. Laura Groch Dec. 18, San Diego Union-Tribune, 18 Dec. 2022 DeLand was expected to complete his study abroad program on Dec. 17, 2022. Stephanie Pagones, Fox News, 16 Dec. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'complete.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

Etymology

Adjective

Middle English complet, compleet, complete, borrowed from Middle French & Latin; Middle French complet, borrowed from Latin complētus, past participle of complēre "to fill, make up, carry to completion," from com- com- + plēre "to fill" — more at full entry 1

Note: The simplex plēre is only attested in an inscription of 176/77 A.D., as a gerund, and in a comment of the grammarian Sextus Pompeius Festus, that "the ancients also used to say plentur without prefixes" ("plentur antiqui etiam sine praepositionibus dicebant"). If such a verb existed, it was replaced at an early date by prefixed compounds such as complēre, in which the prefix marks perfective aspect.

Verb

Middle English completen, derivative of complet complete entry 1

First Known Use

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of complete was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near complete

Cite this Entry

“Complete.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/complete. Accessed 6 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition

complete

1 of 2 adjective
com·​plete kəm-ˈplēt How to pronounce complete (audio)
completer; completest
1
: possessing all necessary parts : entire
a complete set of books
a complete diet
2
: brought to an end : having been completed
five complete days
3
: being such to the fullest degree : thorough, absolute
complete freedom
a complete failure
4
of a football pass : legally caught
completely adverb
completeness noun

complete

2 of 2 verb
completed; completing
1
: to bring to an end : accomplish or achieve fully
complete a job
2
: to make whole or perfect
the shoes complete the outfit

Medical Definition

complete

adjective
com·​plete kəm-ˈplēt How to pronounce complete (audio)
1
of insect metamorphosis : characterized by the occurrence of a pupal stage between the motile immature stages and the adult compare incomplete sense 1
2
of a bone fracture : characterized by a break passing entirely across the bone compare incomplete sense 2
3
of a protein : containing all essential amino acids compare incomplete sense 4

More from Merriam-Webster on complete

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