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[in-tri-kit] /ˈɪn trɪ kɪt/
having many interrelated parts or facets; entangled or involved:
an intricate maze.
complex; complicated; hard to understand, work, or make:
an intricate machine.
Origin of intricate
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English < Latin intrīcātus, past participle of intrīcāre to entangle, equivalent to in- in-2 + trīc(ae) perplexities + -ātus -ate1
Related forms
intricately, adverb
intricateness, noun
unintricate, adjective
unintricately, adverb
unintricateness, noun
1. knotty, tangled, labyrinthine. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for intricate
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The tragic story is too intricate to refer to here in more than a cursory manner.

  • What sardonic contempt for all things in the intricate lines about the mouth.

    Night and Morning, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • Nanna was a mere child, and Magde felt that she could not consult her upon such an intricate question.

    The Home in the Valley Emilie F. Carln
  • It was an intricate story, the details of which surprised and amused him exceedingly.

    His Masterpiece Emile Zola
  • The flash seen through the forest revealed in intricate tracings the intertwining limbs and branches of the trees.

British Dictionary definitions for intricate


difficult to understand; obscure; complex; puzzling
entangled or involved: intricate patterns
Derived Forms
intricacy, intricateness, noun
intricately, adverb
Word Origin
C15: from Latin intrīcāre to entangle, perplex, from in-² + trīcae trifles, perplexities
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 intricate

early 15c., from Latin intricatus "entangled," past participle of intricare "to entangle, perplex, embarrass," from in- "in" (see in- (2)) + tricae (plural) "perplexities, hindrances, toys, tricks," of uncertain origin (cf. extricate). Related: Intricately.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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