[ verb kom-pli-keyt; adjective kom-pli-kit ]
See synonyms for: complicatecomplicatedcomplicatescomplicating on

verb (used with object),com·pli·cat·ed, com·pli·cat·ing.
  1. to make complex, intricate, involved, or difficult: His recovery from the operation was complicated by an allergic reaction.

  1. complex; involved.

  2. Entomology. folded longitudinally one or more times, as the wings of certain insects.

Origin of complicate

1615–25; <Latin complicātus (past participle of complicāre to fold together), equivalent to com-com- + -plic- (combining form of *plecāre to fold, akin to plectī to plait; see complex) + -ātus-ate1

Other words from complicate

  • o·ver·com·pli·cate, verb (used with object), o·ver·com·pli·cat·ed, o·ver·com·pli·cat·ing.
  • pre·com·pli·cate, verb (used with object), pre·com·pli·cat·ed, pre·com·pli·cat·ing.
  • re·com·pli·cate, verb (used with object), re·com·pli·cat·ed, re·com·pli·cat·ing.
  • un·com·pli·cate, verb (used with object), un·com·pli·cat·ed, un·com·pli·cat·ing.

Words Nearby complicate Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use complicate in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for complicate


  1. to make or become complex

  1. biology folded on itself: a complicate leaf

  2. a less common word for complicated

Origin of complicate

C17: from Latin complicāre to fold together, from plicāre to fold

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