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[kuh m-pleynt] /kəmˈpleɪnt/
an expression of discontent, regret, pain, censure, resentment, or grief; lament; faultfinding:
his complaint about poor schools.
a cause of discontent, pain, grief, lamentation, etc.
a cause of bodily pain or ailment; malady:
The doctor says I suffer from a rare complaint.
Law. the first pleading of the plaintiff in a civil action, stating the cause of action.
1350-1400; Middle English compleynte < Middle French complainte < Latin com- com- + plancta plaint
Related forms
countercomplaint, noun
3. sickness, illness, ailment. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for complaints
  • Many complaints are heard from those who have been ignored or overlooked by the census enumerators.
  • After posting complaints on the bulletin board, members scheduled a meeting to find a cure for this chronic pain.
  • Kept getting admitted for weird gastrointestinal complaints.
  • The cruise-ship industry has mushroomed as well, with attendant complaints about crowds and pollution.
  • One of the biggest complaints from photographers of every hardware allegiance is the color balance of their images.
  • The striking thing about that old list, as well as today's student comments, is the utter superficiality of the complaints.
  • There have also been complaints about the quality of some commercial archaeological work.
  • Your complaints about regulation are an attempt to mislead the public.
  • complaints about the examples are entirely beside the point.
  • Others say that, despite their complaints about the price tag, the public gets it.
British Dictionary definitions for complaints


the act of complaining; an expression of grievance
a cause for complaining; grievance
a mild ailment
(English law) a statement by which a civil proceeding in a magistrates' court is commenced
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 complaints



late 14c., "lamentation, grief," from Old French complainte (12c.) "complaint, lament," noun use of fem. past participle of complaindre (see complain). Meaning "bodily ailment" is from 1705 (often in U.S. colloquial use generalized as complaints).

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


in law, the plaintiff's initial pleading, corresponding to the libel in admiralty, the bill in equity, and the claim in civil law. The complaint, called in common law a declaration, consists of a title, a statement showing venue or jurisdiction, one or more counts containing a brief formal exposition of facts giving rise to the claim asserted, and a demand for relief. Thus, it informs the defendant of the plaintiff's claim and initiates the pretrial process of narrowing the case to one or more sharply defined issues of law or fact. In common law and under early procedural codes, the task of defining the issues was performed solely by the pleadings, but modern procedural systems have added pretrial conferences and deposition and discovery procedures for this purpose.

Learn more about complaint with a free trial on
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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