Share this entry

complexion Line breaks: com|plex¦ion
Pronunciation: /kəmˈplɛkʃ(ə)n/

Definition of complexion in English:


1The natural colour, texture, and appearance of a person’s skin, especially of the face: an attractive girl with a pale complexion
More example sentences
  • She had waist length, ebony hair and her skin complexion wasn't too pale nor too dark.
  • It is believed to help clear the complexion and give the skin a fine texture and bring out its natural glow.
  • My only worry is, I don't think orange is a colour that suits my complexion.
skin, skin colour, skin colouring, skin tone, skin texture, pigmentation
2The general aspect or character of something: the complexion of the game changed successive governments of all complexions
More example sentences
  • Nearly every song on A Treasury is a show-stopper, and the track selection is fine, spotlighting Drake's weighty insights and limning the various complexions of his character.
  • Pronger and Blake can change the complexion of the game just by being on the ice, and believe me, they will be on the ice a lot.
  • That, obviously, would have changed the complexion of the whole game.
perspective, angle, slant, interpretation;
aspect, appearance, light, look, countenance


Middle English: via Old French from Latin complexio(n-) 'combination' (in late Latin 'physical constitution'), from complectere 'embrace, comprise'. The term originally denoted physical constitution or temperament determined by the combination of the four bodily humours, hence sense 1 (late 16th century) as a visible sign of this.

  • This came via Old French from Latin complectere ‘embrace, comprise’. The term originally referred to a person's physical constitution to temperament once believed to be determined by a combination of the four bodily humours: blood, phlegm, yellow bile, and black bile. This gave rise, in the late 16th century, to the meaning ‘natural colour and texture of a person's skin’ as a visible sign of this temperament. Complex (mid 17th century), something that comprises many things, is from the same source.



[in combination]: they were both fair-complexioned

Words that rhyme with complexion

abjection, affection, circumspection, collection, confection, connection, convection, correction, defection, deflection, dejection, detection, direction, ejection, election, genuflection, imperfection, infection, inflection, injection, inspection, insurrection, interconnection, interjection, intersection, introspection, lection, misdirection, objection, perfection, predilection, projection, protection, refection, reflection, rejection, resurrection, retrospection, section, selection, subjection, transection, vivisection

Definition of complexion in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day haughty
Pronunciation: ˈhôdē
arrogantly superior and disdainful