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[uh-kom-plis] /əˈkɒm plɪs/
a person who knowingly helps another in a crime or wrongdoing, often as a subordinate.
late Middle English
1475-85; a(c) of unclear orig. + late Middle English complice < Middle French < Medieval Latin complici- (stem of complex) partner; see complex
Can be confused
accomplice, accomplish. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for accomplice
  • 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.
  • Although nabbing scheming executives is to be applauded, cartels often have a silent accomplice in government.
  • The world shouldn't be the accomplice of yet another apartheid.
  • She steals his mobile phone and her accomplice comes in to smack her in the face.
  • The role of these journalists is no different to a reporter arriving at a scene waiting his accomplice to set fire to a building.
  • His accomplice killed the father and daughters with an ax.
  • The third accomplice was sentenced to life in prison.
British Dictionary definitions for accomplice


/əˈkɒmplɪs; əˈkʌm-/
a person who helps another in committing a crime
Word Origin
C15: from a complice, interpreted as one word. See complice
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for accomplice

1580s (earlier complice, late 15c.), from Old French complice "a confederate," from Late Latin complicem (nominative complex) "partner, confederate," from Latin complicare "fold together" (see complicate). With parasitic a- on model of accomplish, etc., or perhaps by assimilation of indefinite article in phrase a complice.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for accomplice

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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