Pop Culture dictionary complexifier [kuhm-pleks-ih-fahy-er] Published April 10, 2019 What does complexifier mean? I’m working on a boat this week, but a big complexifier is that I can’t swim! A complexifier, according to Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, is a fancy way of referring to a complicating factor, or something that makes a situation more complex. Related words that escalated quickly, shit just got real, hard times, This is fine, 🤷 Person Shrugging emoji, c'est la vie, d'fuq Where does complexifier come from? Reuters / Financial Express Complexifier was launched into the limelight on February 7, 2019, when Jeff Bezos, the wealthiest person in the world and the head of Amazon and The Washington Post, wrote a blog post accusing the tabloid National Enquirer of blackmail: “Here’s a piece of context: My ownership of the Washington Post is a complexifier for me. It’s unavoidable that certain powerful people who experience Washington Post news coverage will wrongly conclude I am their enemy.” The National Enquirer allegedly threatened to publish embarrassing photographs of Bezos and his girlfriend (including dick pics), unless The Washington Post stopped its investigative reporting into collusion between President Donald Trump and foreign political powers. While Bezos’s blackmail revelations were shocking and scandalous, many people were equally captivated by his use of this unusual word complexifier. Many social media users and professional journalists wondered if complexifier was even a valid term, expressing dismay that Bezos would invent such a silly word. Okay but is “complexifier” actually a real word or…. — Katelyn Burns (@transscribe) February 7, 2019 Bezos uses the word “complexifier” in his thing and I shudder at how many ideation meetings were called to help birth it as acceptable brand doublespeak — Drew Magary (@drewmagary) February 7, 2019 The New York Times noted that complexifier is a French verb meaning “to complicate” or “make more complex,” but as lexicographer Ben Zimmer explained for The Wall Street Journal: “…though you won’t find “complexifier” in any major English dictionary, the word’s meaning can nonetheless be gleaned from its building blocks. If circumstances become complex, they are ‘complexified,’ and if something adds to the complexity of a situation, it is a ‘complexifier.'” Compare complexifier to intensifier (something that intensifies) or simplifier (something that simplifies). Complexifier is modeled on such words which feature the -ify/-fy, a suffix meaning “to make” or “render.” Zimmer found notable instances of complexifier in 1970 and 1992 in government contexts. Good response from Bezos. I strongly advise him never to use the word complexifier again. — John Levenstein (@johnlevenstein) February 7, 2019 Examples of complexifier Jeff Bezos is a complexifier for David Pecker — and it won’t end well. @maureendowd, February 2019 How Brett Kavanaugh and the ‘complexifier’ of race help Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax Joan Vennochi, The Boston Globe (headline), February 2019 Having three teenagers at home is a complexifier for me. What’s a complexifier for you? @peterlattman, February 2019 SEE MORE EXAMPLES Who uses complexifier? Not long after Bezos brought the odd word to our attention, complexifier was used by journalists in news stories about him as well as other recent political scandals involving complicating factors. Jeff Bezos says owning The Washington Post is a “complexifier” for him. The newspaper could say the same about him. https://t.co/P6rrATaKqc — The New York Times (@nytimes) February 12, 2019 The Complexifier. pic.twitter.com/V9L9nE7SK2 — Gavin Purcell (@gavinpurcell) February 7, 2019 Complexifier also gained steam on social media as people joked about how silly it sounded and started using the word to describe a variety of absurdities. The Complexifier is one of the less known of the supervillians, mainly because no one has any idea what his superpower actually is or what he does. — matt blaze (@mattblaze) February 8, 2019 The complexifier. pic.twitter.com/HnWj3gJ5mO — Schooley (@Rschooley) February 7, 2019 Just Added bystander effect, CSI effect, Streisand effect, L + ratio, docufiction Note This is not meant to be a formal definition of complexifier like most terms we define on Dictionary.com, but is rather an informal word summary that hopefully touches upon the key aspects of the meaning and usage of complexifier that will help our users expand their word mastery.