in·​tri·​cate | \ ˈin-tri-kət How to pronounce intricate (audio) \

Definition of intricate

1 : having many complexly interrelating parts or elements : complicated intricate machinery an intricate plot
2 : difficult to resolve or analyze

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Other Words from intricate

intricately adverb
intricateness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for intricate

complex, complicated, intricate, involved, knotty mean having confusingly interrelated parts. complex suggests the unavoidable result of a necessary combining and does not imply a fault or failure. a complex recipe complicated applies to what offers great difficulty in understanding, solving, or explaining. complicated legal procedures intricate suggests such interlacing of parts as to make it nearly impossible to follow or grasp them separately. an intricate web of deceit involved implies extreme complication and often disorder. a rambling, involved explanation knotty suggests complication and entanglement that make solution or understanding improbable. knotty ethical questions

Examples of intricate in a Sentence

Filigree is an ancient technique that creates an intricate, lace-like pattern through the combination of wire swirls and shapes. — Jeanne Rhodes-Moen, Step by Step Wire Jewelry, Fall 2007 Tsunami generation involves intricate interactions among earthquakes, landslides, and "sympathetic" vibrations between the quake and the ocean above it. — Robert Koenig, Science, 17 Aug. 2001 However, other random processes can be quite intricate; for example, the fluctuating prices of stocks are difficult to explain because there are so many variables and combinations of variables that are influencing the prices. — Lloyd Jaisingh, Statistics for the Utterly Confused, 2000 The movie has an intricate plot. an intricate machine that requires some training to use it properly
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Recent Examples on the Web The band’s intricate, at times proudly knotty music draws from some of the same sources as the Dead’s. George Varga, San Diego Union-Tribune, 21 Oct. 2021 This became a catalyst for the emergence of intricate pressure mechanisms aiming to subdue non-paying companies and turn the tide of ransom negotiations. David Balaban, Forbes, 21 Oct. 2021 Majors has the most intricate role, the one the film turns on. Bill Goodykoontz, The Arizona Republic, 20 Oct. 2021 The intricate and long-running case has upended several top leaders at San Francisco City Hall, including Kelly and his wife, Naomi Kelly, who resigned earlier this year but has not been charged with a crime. Rachel Swan, San Francisco Chronicle, 19 Oct. 2021 The air transport of the live animals, which requires a permit in Spain, was eventually approved by the government, the group said, paving the way for an intricate rescue. Washington Post, 19 Oct. 2021 By training camp, Prescott’s warmups remained intricate, but mental and physical shackles were long gone. Jori Epstein, USA TODAY, 18 Oct. 2021 More subtle but equally intricate are the backing vocals. Jem Aswad, Variety, 18 Oct. 2021 The subtle, symmetrical texture on the dial, known as guilloche, is carved by hand with the help of a lathe, akin to a very intricate spirograph. Mark Cho, Robb Report, 16 Oct. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'intricate.' 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 intricate

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for intricate

Middle English, from Latin intricatus, past participle of intricare to entangle, from in- + tricae trifles, complications

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Time Traveler for intricate

Time Traveler

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

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Last Updated

24 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Intricate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for intricate



English Language Learners Definition of intricate

: having many parts


in·​tri·​cate | \ ˈin-tri-kət How to pronounce intricate (audio) \

Kids Definition of intricate

1 : having many closely combined parts or elements an intricate design
2 : very difficult to follow or understand an intricate plot

Other Words from intricate

intricately adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on intricate

Nglish: Translation of intricate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of intricate for Arabic Speakers


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