Definition of complicate in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈkämpləˌkāt/


[with object]
1Make (something) more difficult or confusing by causing it to be more complex: middlemen can complicate the process (as adjective complicating) a complicating factor
More example sentences
  • There are a number of factors which complicate choices about smallpox either for governments or for individuals.
  • The first factor complicating the fight against doping, he said, is the imperfect art of testing.
  • One of the factors complicating the adjustment of the Hmong people has been English language acquisition.
make (more) difficult, make complicated, mix up, confuse, muddle
informal mess up, screw up, snarl up
1.1 Medicine Introduce complications in (an existing condition): smoking may complicate pregnancy
More example sentences
  • Pregnancy is not an absolute contraindication to travel unless complicated by an unstable medical condition or impending labor.
  • Respiratory failure frequently complicates the condition of children who have sustained traumatic injury.
  • Women with preterm delivery and pregnancies complicated by hemoglobinopathies, hypertension, or multiple gestation were excluded.


Early 17th century (in the sense 'combine, entangle, intertwine'): from Latin complicat- 'folded together', from the verb complicare, from com- 'together' + plicare 'to fold'.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: com·pli·cate

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