9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[v. kom-pli-keyt; adj. kom-pli-kit] /v. ˈkɒm plɪˌkeɪt; adj. ˈkɒm plɪ kɪt/
verb (used with object), complicated, complicating.
to make complex, intricate, involved, or difficult:
His recovery from the operation was complicated by an allergic reaction.
complex; involved.
Entomology. folded longitudinally one or more times, as the wings of certain insects.
Origin of complicate
1615-25; < Latin complicātus (past participle of complicāre to fold together), equivalent to com- com- + -plic- (combining form of *plecāre to fold, akin to plectī to plait; see complex) + -ātus -ate1
Related forms
overcomplicate, verb (used with object), overcomplicated, overcomplicating.
precomplicate, verb (used with object), precomplicated, precomplicating.
recomplicate, verb (used with object), recomplicated, recomplicating.
uncomplicate, verb (used with object), uncomplicated, uncomplicating. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for complicate
  • Rufous, brown, and gray morphs in several populations complicate identification.
  • To further complicate matters, the wool industry is split over the best way to handle the situation.
  • To complicate matters, the biggest dark matter clumps are the best candidates to contain satellite galaxies.
  • But alas culture and learning also play a role and complicate the search for explanatory models.
  • And the cake maker will have an economic motivation to complicate his cakes and hike his prices.
  • His intelligence keeps him from doing many of the fool things that complicate life.
  • Of all this that was being done to complicate his education, he knew only the color of yellow.
  • To complicate things further, the basis on which librarians are promoted seems to vary from place to place.
  • Private-sector recruiters have faced bureaucratic hurdles that complicate the payment of commissions.
  • Let us also agree that some technologies dramatically simplify our lives, while others complicate them.
British Dictionary definitions for complicate


verb (ˈkɒmplɪˌkeɪt)
to make or become complex
adjective (ˈkɒmplɪkɪt)
(biology) folded on itself: a complicate leaf
a less common word for complicated
Word Origin
C17: from Latin complicāre to fold together, from plicāre to fold
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 complicate

1620s, "to intertwine" (as a past participle adjective, early 15c.), from Latin complicatus "folded together; confused, intricate," past participle of complicare (see complication). Meaning "to make more complex" is recorded from 1832, from earlier sense "to combine in a complex way" (17c.). Related: Complicated; complicating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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