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[kuh m-plek-si-tee] /kəmˈplɛk sɪ ti/
noun, plural complexities for 2.
the state or quality of being complex; intricacy:
the complexity of urban life.
something complex:
the complexities of foreign policy.
Origin of complexity
1715-25; complex + -ity
Related forms
intercomplexity, noun, plural intercomplexities.
overcomplexity, noun
supercomplexity, noun, plural supercomplexities. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for complexity
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • complexity of conditions render the difficulties in the way of the development of a technique enormous.

  • The complexity of life is shown by the extension of the necessity of choice.

  • The complexity of affairs in which he was then involved seemed to give a new impulse to his activity.

    Memoirs of Napoleon Bonaparte, Complete Louis Antoine Fauvelet de Bourrienne
  • But our State in which one man plays one part only is not adapted for complexity.

    The Republic Plato
  • But least of all does the grandeur of the fugue rest upon its complexity.

    Sebastian Bach Reginald Lane Poole
British Dictionary definitions for complexity


noun (pl) -ties
the state or quality of being intricate or complex
something intricate or complex; complication
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 complexity

1721, "composite nature," from complex (adj.) + -ity. Meaning "intricacy" is from 1790. Meaning "a complex condition" is from 1794.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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complexity in Technology

The level in difficulty in solving mathematically posed problems as measured by the time, number of steps or arithmetic operations, or memory space required (called time complexity, computational complexity, and space complexity, respectively).
The interesting aspect is usually how complexity scales with the size of the input (the "scalability"), where the size of the input is described by some number N. Thus an algorithm may have computational complexity O(N^2) (of the order of the square of the size of the input), in which case if the input doubles in size, the computation will take four times as many steps. The ideal is a constant time algorithm (O(1)) or failing that, O(N).
See also NP-complete.

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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