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[verb kom-pli-keyt; adjective kom-pli-kit] /verb ˈkɒm plɪˌkeɪt; adjective 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
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • To complicate matters, the slaves rose in insurrection in August, 1791.

  • The fact only served to complicate his uneasiness with a sense of mystery.

    The Rescue Joseph Conrad
  • To follow a method of education inspired by any other principle, is to complicate life, deform it, sow the seeds of all disorders.

    The Simple Life Charles Wagner
  • "That will complicate our search," said Glenarvan, somewhat disconcerted.

  • At such times, however, unforeseen events invariably intruded to complicate her feelings and alter her plans.

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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