an expression of discontent, regret, pain, censure, resentment, or grief; lament; faultfinding: his complaint about poor schools.
a cause of discontent, pain, grief, lamentation, etc.
a cause of bodily pain or ailment; malady: The doctor says I suffer from a rare complaint.
Law. the first pleading of the plaintiff in a civil action, stating the cause of action.

Origin of complaint

1350–1400; Middle English compleynte < Middle French complainte < Latin com- com- + plancta plaint
Related formscoun·ter·com·plaint, noun

Synonyms for complaint Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for complaint

Contemporary Examples of complaint

Historical Examples of complaint

  • No one has seen him shed a tear, of heard him utter a complaint.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • She made no complaint of him, and even spoke of him as generous.


    Thomas Wentworth Higginson

  • Such a course is frequent and would not give the right of complaint to anybody.

    The Grand Old Man

    Richard B. Cook

  • There was a curious mixture of complaint and satisfaction in Dick's tone.

  • The first comer utters his complaint of humiliation before him.

British Dictionary definitions for complaint



the act of complaining; an expression of grievance
a cause for complaining; grievance
a mild ailment
English law a statement by which a civil proceeding in a magistrates' court is commenced
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

Word Origin and History for complaint

late 14c., "lamentation, grief," from Old French complainte (12c.) "complaint, lament," noun use of fem. past participle of complaindre (see complain). Meaning "bodily ailment" is from 1705 (often in U.S. colloquial use generalized as complaints).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper