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See more synonyms for incomplete on Thesaurus.com
  1. not complete; lacking some part.
  2. Football. (of a forward pass) not completed; not caught by a receiver.
  3. 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).
  4. 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).
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  1. 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.
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Origin of incomplete

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English word from Late Latin word incomplētus. See in-3, complete
Related formsin·com·plete·ly, adverbin·com·plete·ness, nounsub·in·com·plete, adjective


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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for incompleteness


  1. not complete or finished
  2. not completely developed; imperfect
  3. logic
    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
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Derived Formsincompletely, adverbincompleteness or 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

Word Origin and History for incompleteness


1640s; from incomplete + -ness.

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late 14c., from Latin incompletus "incomplete," from in- "not" (see in- (1)) + completus (see complete).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper