verb (used without object)

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.

Origin of complain

1350–1400; Middle English compleinen < Anglo-French compleign-, stem of compleindre, Old French complaindre < Vulgar Latin *complangere, equivalent to Latin com- com- + plangere to lament; see plaint
Related formscom·plain·a·ble, adjectivecom·plain·er, nouncom·plain·ing·ly, adverbun·com·plained, adjectiveun·com·plain·ing, adjectiveun·com·plain·ing·ly, adverb

Synonym study

1. Complain, grumble, growl, whine are terms for expressing dissatisfaction or discomfort. To complain is to protest against or lament a wrong: to complain about high prices. To grumble is to utter ill-natured complaints half to oneself: to grumble about the service. Growl may express more anger than grumble : to growl in reply to a question. To whine is to complain in a meanspirited way, using a nasal tone: to whine like a coward, like a spoiled child.

Antonyms for complain Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for uncomplaining

Historical Examples of uncomplaining

  • She was deeply wounded and silent, uncomplaining; she seemed to be dying hourly.

    The Dream

    Emile Zola

  • Yet she was, as the doctor had said, calm and uncomplaining.

    The Rise of Roscoe Paine

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • Thorpe gave her the mystified yet uncomplaining glance she knew so well in his eyes.

    The Market-Place

    Harold Frederic

  • Eliot is all about This place, with his most uncomplaining brow.

    Browning's England

    Helen Archibald Clarke

  • His air was so gay, so uncomplaining, that it was hard to believe it came from him.


    Joseph Conrad and F.M. Hueffer

British Dictionary definitions for uncomplaining



not complaining or resentful; resigned


verb (intr)

to express resentment, displeasure, etc, esp habitually; grumble
(foll by of) to state the presence of pain, illness, etc, esp in the hope of sympathyshe complained of a headache
Derived Formscomplainer, nouncomplainingly, adverb

Word Origin for complain

C14: from Old French complaindre, from Vulgar Latin complangere (unattested), from Latin com- (intensive) + plangere to bewail
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 uncomplaining



late 14c., "find fault, lament," from stem of Old French complaindre "to lament" (12c.), from Vulgar Latin *complangere, originally "to beat the breast," from Latin com-, intensive prefix (see com-), + plangere "to strike, beat the breast" (see plague (n.)). Older sense of "lament" died out 17c. Related: Complained; complaining.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with uncomplaining


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.