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[in-kuh m-pleet] /ˌɪn kəmˈplit/
not complete; lacking some part.
Football. (of a forward pass) not completed; not caught by a receiver.
Engineering. noting a truss the panel points of which are not entirely connected so as to form a system of triangles.
Compare complete (def 8), redundant (def 5c).
Logic, Philosophy.
  1. (of an expression or symbol) meaningful only in a specific context.
  2. (of a set of axioms) such that there is at least one true proposition (able to be formulated in terms of the basic ideas of a given system) that is not deducible from the set.
    Compare complete (def 7).
Education. a temporary grade indicating that a student has not fulfilled one or more of the essential requirements for a course:
If I don't hand in my term paper for last semester's English course, the professor is going to change my incomplete to an F.
Origin of incomplete
1350-1400; Middle English < Late Latin incomplētus. See in-3, complete
Related forms
incompletely, adverb
incompleteness, noun
subincomplete, adjective
1. unfinished, partial, fragmentary. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for incomplete
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Once more M. Patrigent was on the wrong track, owing to Fanferlot's incomplete information.

    File No. 113 Emile Gaboriau
  • But deep and rich as was Rotha's simple nature, it was yet incomplete.

  • Petty duties demand her whole grasp of mind, and, after all, the thing is incomplete.

  • With this brief and incomplete account we must take leave of the Negro farmer.

    The Negro Farmer Carl Kelsey
  • incomplete returns indicated a slight gain for Hopkins, but not more than a dozen votes altogether.

British Dictionary definitions for incomplete


not complete or finished
not completely developed; imperfect
  1. (of a formal theory) not so constructed that the addition of a non-theorem to the axioms renders it inconsistent
  2. (of an expression) not having a reference of its own but requiring completion by another expression
Derived Forms
incompletely, adverb
incompleteness, incompletion, noun
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 incomplete

late 14c., from Latin incompletus "incomplete," from in- "not" (see in- (1)) + completus (see complete).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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