a person who knowingly helps another in a crime or wrongdoing, often as a subordinate.

1475–85; a(c) of unclear orig. + late Middle English complice < Middle French < Medieval Latin complici- (stem of complex) partner; see complex

accomplice, accomplish. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
accomplice (əˈkɒmplɪs, əˈkʌm-)
a person who helps another in committing a crime
[C15: from a complice, interpreted as one word. See complice]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

late 15c., from O.Fr. complice "a confederate," with a parasitic a- on model of accomplish, etc., or assimilation of indefinite article in phrase a complice, from L.L. complicem (nom. complex) "partner, confederate," from L. complicare "fold together" (see complicate).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Britannica


in law, a person who becomes equally guilty in the crime of another by knowingly and voluntarily aiding the other to commit the offense. An accomplice is either an accessory or an abettor. The accessory aids a criminal prior to his crime, whereas the abettor aids him during the act itself.

Learn more about accomplice with a free trial on

Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
He is, technically, an accomplice to a serious set of crimes.
Yet regulation, if not a prime suspect, could still be an accomplice.
The first perp was busted on his way to the bathroom, and he quickly fingered
  his accomplice.
Others claim to have seen an accomplice and a getaway car.
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