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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 incompleteness
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The incompleteness of his statement was, for the same reason, overlooked by his feminine auditors.

  • We often see this defect of incompleteness in a child, which increases in youth.

    How to Succeed Orison Swett Marden
  • In addition to this source of incompleteness, it seemed impossible to compel the tribunals to keep their records in proper shape.

  • Yes, it is dissatisfaction, an incompleteness, as though she had not found what she sought.

    The Right Knock Helen Van-Anderson
  • No stricture can attach to his incompleteness: his life was too short for realisation.

    Modern Painting, Its Tendency and Meaning Willard Huntington Wright
  • We cannot compare their incompleteness with its completeness.

    This Simian World Clarence Day
  • But the moment we pass beyond the mere animal life we begin to come upon an incompleteness.

  • What was it that was responsible for that misty halation of incompleteness, longing?

    Sally of Missouri R. E. Young
British Dictionary definitions for incompleteness


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 incompleteness

1640s; from incomplete + -ness.



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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