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

1375–1425; late Middle English < Latin intrīcātus, past participle of intrīcāre to entangle, equivalent to in- in-2 + trīc(ae) perplexities + -ātus -ate1
Related formsin·tri·cate·ly, adverbin·tri·cate·ness, nounun·in·tri·cate, adjectiveun·in·tri·cate·ly, adverbun·in·tri·cate·ness, noun

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

Examples from the Web for intricate

Contemporary Examples of intricate

Historical Examples of intricate

  • She slipped into the dress and struggled with its many and intricate fastenings.

    Her Father's Daughter

    Gene Stratton-Porter

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

    Night and Morning, Complete

    Edward Bulwer-Lytton

  • What were the workings of that intricate celestial brain none can say.

    The Monster Men

    Edgar Rice Burroughs

  • As he dived into the intricate problems memories came with them.

    The Rock of Chickamauga

    Joseph A. Altsheler

  • It was an intricate story, the details of which surprised and amused him exceedingly.

    His Masterpiece

    Emile Zola

British Dictionary definitions for intricate



difficult to understand; obscure; complex; puzzling
entangled or involvedintricate patterns
Derived Formsintricacy or intricateness, nounintricately, adverb

Word Origin for intricate

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

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