to express dissatisfaction, pain, uneasiness, censure, resentment, or grief; find fault: He complained constantly about the noise in the corridor.
to tell of one's pains, ailments, etc.: to complain of a backache.
to make a formal accusation: If you think you've been swindled, complain to the police.
- com·plain·a·ble, adjective
- com·plain·er, noun
- com·plain·ing·ly, adverb
- un·com·plained, adjective
- un·com·plain·ing, adjective
- un·com·plain·ing·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use complain in a sentence
The government agencies charged with enforcing labor laws don’t investigate because nobody is complaining.
She messaged a friend to ask whether any of her classmates had complained.Virginia chemistry teacher asked students to insert ‘neon . . . neck’ to describe how George Floyd died | Hannah Natanson | November 19, 2020 | Washington Post
If nobody complains, there is rarely proactive investigation or enforcement.Inside the Lives of Immigrant Teens Working Dangerous Night Shifts in Suburban Factories | by Melissa Sanchez | November 19, 2020 | ProPublica
In January, several women came forward as a group to complain about his behavior.University of Michigan reaches settlement with women who reported sexual harassment by former provost | Susan Svrluga | November 18, 2020 | Washington Post
Rattled by the letter, Rhine complained to Jung, who tried to track down the critical piece but found no evidence of its existence.The Synchronicity of Wolfgang Pauli and Carl Jung - Issue 93: Forerunners | Paul Halpern | November 18, 2020 | Nautilus
They constantly break the fourth wall, yelling and complaining to the cameramen.James Franco and Seth Rogen Get ‘Naked and Afraid’… And It’s Hilarious | Marlow Stern | December 8, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
People in the comments section were complaining about the length of one of these essays that ran in The New Yorker.Meghan Daum On Tackling The Unspeakable Parts Of Life | David Yaffe | December 6, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
Jazz lovers who had taken exception to the previous bashing were told to lighten up, and stop complaining.
“I got a call earlier with a resident complaining that one of the news copters was flying too low,” he said.
Citizens of the Golden State love complaining about undocumented immigrants, but the state would collapse without them.Careful What You Wish For: Here’s What California Would Look Like Without Illegal Immigrants | Ruben Navarrette Jr. | September 18, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
Neither was it used as a means of help for the infantry, who go complaining through the streets.
When the family returned from the court house, Orlean had retired at once, complaining of a headache.The Homesteader | Oscar Micheaux
Those we have been examining, complaining about, and moralising over, all our life time.
Mr. Worthington could not take the resigned view of their circumstances that his wife took, but often gave way to complaining.The value of a praying mother | Isabel C. Byrum
He wrote to his friends in England imploring, remonstrating, complaining of their lamentable want of public spirit.The History of England from the Accession of James II. | Thomas Babington Macaulay
British Dictionary definitions for complain
to express resentment, displeasure, etc, esp habitually; grumble
(foll by of) to state the presence of pain, illness, etc, esp in the hope of sympathy: she complained of a headache
- complainer, noun
- complainingly, adverb
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
Other Idioms and Phrases with complain
see can't complain.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.