Definition of complicate in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈkɒmplɪkeɪt/


[with object]
1Make (something) more complicated: increased choice will complicate matters for the consumer (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 complex, make complicated, mix up;
confuse, muddle, entangle, embroil
informal mess up, snarl up, screw up
archaic perplex, embarrass
rare ravel
1.1 Medicine Introduce complications in (an existing condition): smoking may complicate pregnancy (as adjective complicating) patients with complicating biliary calculi
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

Line breaks: com|pli|cate

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