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[kuh m-plek-shuh n] /kəmˈplɛk ʃən/
the natural color, texture, and appearance of the skin, especially of the face:
a clear, smooth, rosy complexion.
appearance; aspect; character:
His confession put a different complexion on things.
viewpoint, attitude, or conviction:
one's political complexion.
(in old physiology) constitution or nature of body and mind, regarded as the result of certain combined qualities.
Obsolete. nature; disposition; temperament.
Also, complection.
Origin of complexion
1300-50; Middle English < Medieval Latin complexiōn- (stem of complexiō) constitution, temperament, Latin: combination, group, literally, the act of embracing. See complex, -ion
Related forms
complexional, adjective
complexionally, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for complexion
  • It was not so long ago that a three-step routine was the clear complexion standard for skin care.
  • Color discrimination involves treating someone unfavorably because of skin color complexion.
  • The complexion of those governments is as diverse as the ten countries this survey covers.
  • Her white hair is neatly styled, her complexion glows.
  • Her face was distinguished as much for its great intelligence and animation as for fine features and complexion.
  • Such burning local issues eclipse bigger concerns such as the economy and the possible complexion of the next government.
  • His features are pinched and drawn, his complexion sallow.
  • The complexion of the organization has changed slightly.
  • Whatever the complexion of the next government, its priority will be clear: giving the economy a jolt.
  • She received a patent this week for a mixer that blends powder for the individual taste and complexion.
British Dictionary definitions for complexion


the colour and general appearance of a person's skin, esp of the face
aspect, character, or nature: the general complexion of a nation's finances
  1. the temperament of a person
  2. the temperature and general appearance of the body
Derived Forms
complexional, adjective
Word Origin
C14: from medical Latin complexiō one's bodily characteristics, from Latin: a combination, from complectī to embrace; see complex
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 complexion

mid-14c., "bodily constitution," from Old French complexion, complession "combination of humors," hence "temperament, character, make-up," from Latin complexionem (nominative complexio) "combination" (in Late Latin, "physical constitution"), from complexus (see complex (adj.)). Meaning "appearance of the skin of the face" is first recorded mid-15c. In medieval physiology, the color of the face indicated temperament or health.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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complexion in Medicine

complexion com·plex·ion (kəm-plěk'shən)
The natural color, texture, and appearance of the skin, especially of the face.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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