Definition of complex in English:

complex

adjective

  • 1Consisting of many different and connected parts.

    ‘a complex network of water channels’
    • ‘It claims that the financial proceeds of organised crime are used, via a complex network of intermediaries, to buy the company's cigarettes.’
    • ‘As the vocal folds consist of a complex web of different muscle fibres, the tension and density of vocal folds can vary considerably.’
    • ‘Inside, a skylit atrium runs the full length of the building, connecting its richly complex spaces.’
    • ‘In Streedagh's sandhills, there lies a vast and complex network of rabbit burrows.’
    • ‘There is a complex network of channels and what look like highways that have been laid out in a massive organized fashion.’
    • ‘For me, there is a complex network of paths through the house, all centering on the study where my current project is available for instant scrutiny.’
    • ‘Twins can be joined by the head, chest and pelvis, sometimes sharing organs and a complex network of blood vessels.’
    • ‘Accounting for new irreducibly complex structures by the foregoing mechanisms is a completely different proposition.’
    • ‘Organisms such as fungi have evolved complex networks in which there are centralised and decentralised pathways to move nutrients around.’
    • ‘Because of this, the structure of these converters are quite complex although easy to understand.’
    • ‘The condition is caused by damage to the complex network of nerves in the neck and shoulder when her arm became stuck behind her mother's pelvic bone during birth.’
    • ‘The plant's shoots receive nourishment from a complex network of connections to the roots.’
    • ‘Three geostationary satellites and a complex network of ground stations will carry out the task.’
    • ‘To reduce the harmful effects of exposure to DNA-damaging agents, the human genome has evolved a complex network of genome stability pathways.’
    • ‘The impression one has when looking at maps of large-scale structure is that of a vast cosmic web, a complex network of intersecting chains and sheets.’
    • ‘It was fascinating how Mr Fox so quickly constructed that complex network of tunnels.’
    • ‘The hips, on the other hand, are a very large and complex joint with many different muscles and attachments.’
    • ‘The complex wiring of old networks are gradually being replaced by a cleaner wireless environment.’
    • ‘Keeping these elements in articulation as they move in different planes requires a complex joint.’
    • ‘The vehicle has four wheels all connected by complex machinery that simple minds like ours can't begin to describe.’
    compound, composite, compounded, multiplex
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    1. 1.1 Not easy to analyse or understand; complicated or intricate.
      ‘a complex personality’
      ‘the situation is more complex than it appears’
      • ‘Traffic flow is an extremely complex phenomenon and its complete understanding is quite difficult.’
      • ‘In our highly divided and partisan political system, people tend to lack the ability to understand a complex reality.’
      • ‘Features of financial products are becoming far too complex for the common man.’
      • ‘He was all about clarity, making sure people could understand complex stories.’
      • ‘Miller's writing is excellent, and he makes some rather complex biochemistry easy to understand.’
      • ‘Given these highly complex interactions, research in this area frequently yields contradictory conclusions.’
      • ‘Aging is an intricate, complex process that involves many areas of your body.’
      • ‘The complex work involved intricate scheduling with cleanup crews and keeping myriad utilities happy.’
      • ‘His files are protected by a very complex system of coding and firewalls.’
      • ‘However, the whole matter of indirect tax liability is devilishly complex and difficult to understand.’
      • ‘Reaching political consensus on such complex issues is never easy, given the diversity of interests that must be addressed.’
      • ‘Most studies also do not take into account the complex interplay between different variables in predicting lung volumes.’
      • ‘However, the wider international situation is increasingly complex.’
      • ‘They need time to formulate complex thoughts in an easy language.’
      • ‘The British press and wire services carried a far different and more complex story.’
      • ‘It is an enormously complex and difficult problem that defies easy solution.’
      • ‘This chapter is written in a clear, understandable style, making it easier to understand the complex legal issues discussed.’
      • ‘Web services are fine, until you start to deal with complex data structures across different platforms.’
      • ‘As I have noted a number of times, this is a highly complex issue.’
      • ‘In other words, the problems are much more complex than Mr. Baker understands or cares to discuss.’
      complicated, involved, intricate, convoluted, tangled, elaborate, serpentine, labyrinthine, tortuous, impenetrable, byzantine, daedalian, gordian
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  • 2Mathematics
    Denoting or involving numbers or quantities containing both a real and an imaginary part.

    • ‘Mathematicians find uses for complex numbers in solving equations.’
    • ‘In addition to his work on geometry, Bolyai developed a rigorous geometric concept of complex numbers as ordered pairs of real numbers.’
    • ‘Bombelli was the first person to write down the rules for addition, subtraction and multiplication of complex numbers.’
    • ‘He also classified real and complex numbers into classes which are algebraically independent.’
    • ‘The same notions can be extended to polynomial equations involving complex numbers.’
  • 3Chemistry
    Denoting an ion or molecule in which one or more groups are linked to a metal atom by coordinate bonds.

    ‘in naming complex ions, the names of the ligands are cited first’
    • ‘Often the atoms comprising a complex molecule can be arranged in several ways and still satisfy the octet rule for each atom.’
    • ‘There are, as you would expect from the simplicity of the alcohol molecule, no complex hydrocarbons emitted.’
    • ‘Biological processes, in turn, depend on the chemistry of complex molecules.’
    • ‘This process occurs when oxygen atoms bond to an iron atom at the center of a complex protein molecule known as oxyhemoglobin.’
    • ‘Carbohydrates can form more complex molecules when linked with other molecules.’

noun

  • 1A group or system of different things that are linked in a close or complicated way; a network.

    ‘a complex of mountain roads’
    • ‘The ‘self’ is a complex of memories, thoughts, beliefs, desires etc. all of which can be doubted.’
    • ‘Rather than being a single disease, it is in fact a complex of related diseases which include forms known as yellow mosaic and veinbanding.’
    • ‘Eventually, of course, they run into other such complexes expanding from different kernels.’
    • ‘Structural studies revealed that cullin serves as a bridge to bring together different components of the complex.’
    • ‘The wheel itself was split into many different complexes.’
    • ‘It has been argued recently that the mind is a complex of conflicting and complementary memetic patterns seeking to reproduce.’
    • ‘‘Network’ includes a complex of interconnected computer or communication systems of any type.’
    • ‘The problem is not how to choose between two possibilities, but how to relate and weigh a complex of motives.’
    • ‘I find that a day that starts with a smile often carries on that way and my day did just that in spite of solemn moments and an occasional sadness mixed together in a complex of emotions.’
    • ‘It is part of a complex of closely related gull species that interbreed readily.’
    • ‘The result is that we see her not in a single emotion, but a complex of emotions.’
    • ‘The complex of field systems and large stone walls extend from the north western slopes of Mount Brandon to within the boundaries of Dingle.’
    network, system, interconnected scheme, interconnected structure, interconnected system, nexus, web, tissue
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    1. 1.1 A group of similar buildings or facilities on the same site.
      ‘a leisure complex’
      ‘a complex of hotels’
      • ‘Plans for building museums in the complex have also been made.’
      • ‘The company has expertise in building apartment buildings, shopping malls and office complexes.’
      • ‘They are normally installed with automatic closing devices in multiple residence buildings such as apartment complexes.’
      • ‘About 70 families were left homeless by the fire, which destroyed three buildings in the apartment complex.’
      • ‘The rehearsal room was a dilapidated building in a hospital complex.’
      • ‘An increasing number of workers on low incomes are moving out as reasonably priced housing is replaced by expensive apartment complexes and luxury residential developments.’
      • ‘We had the devil of a time running the cable through the conduits which were built into the apartment complex I live in.’
      • ‘Usually, such mock drills are only conducted in high-rise buildings and in shopping complexes, but they are essential also in slum areas.’
      • ‘Dentists' offices, doctors' offices and markets were all built into the apartment complexes to make life more efficient.’
      • ‘He also expressed concern over other violations by real estate developers, who took small lakes and swampy areas in the northern part of the city as development sites for housing complexes.’
      • ‘Through its connecting walkways, a person could potentially live inside the buildings forever, navigating the maze between apartment complexes, office towers and malls.’
      • ‘Mr Young said despite rumours he has no plans to build an apartment complex on the site.’
      • ‘These especially go well in complexes and office buildings that have an architectural importance.’
      • ‘Massive corporate campuses, large and numerous residential complexes and modern retail facilities have come up along this belt.’
      • ‘At a council planning meeting on Tuesday it was agreed to extend the uses of the building to include a business complex with conference facilities on the south of the site.’
      • ‘No one in their right mind would live here among the burned-out office buildings and development complexes.’
      • ‘Developments vary from apartment blocks and hotels to modern luxury complexes with swimming pools, solariums, restaurants and a host of other facilities.’
      • ‘Fires at the base of the complex of seven office buildings sent heavy smoke throughout.’
      • ‘He has watched as new building complexes have risen over sites he knows contain more lost tombstones.’
      • ‘Placing large parking lots around buildings means office complexes usually sit in the middle of an island of heat which requires more air conditioning.’
      building, structure, development
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  • 2Psychoanalysis
    A related group of repressed or partly repressed emotionally significant ideas which cause psychic conflict leading to abnormal mental states or behaviour.

    • ‘For about six to eight hours you seem to have no physical experience of the chronic muscular tensions that Reich says are symptomatic of unhealthy mental or emotional complexes.’
    • ‘Like Jack, David had a complex and conflicted history of diagnoses, treatments and medication.’
    • ‘Jung, Freud and comrades helped to systematise intuitive skill while deciphering some psychic complexes of their own Europe in turmoil.’
    • ‘The dark abyss of the mind and its complexes and obsessions must be conquered.’
    • ‘I don't know if anyone has done any major writing comparing Jung's ideas of complexes and archetypes to electrical networks, but it would be a great thing to look into.’
    1. 2.1informal A strong or disproportionate concern or anxiety about something.
      ‘there's no point having a complex about losing your hair’
      • ‘The threatening letters, believed to be fake by many, only accentuated the fear complex.’
      • ‘Every minor flaw gets magnified and many even develop a complex about it.’
      • ‘I've been lucky that the men I've fallen in love with have fallen in love with me, so I've never had that complex about the way I look.’
      • ‘I had such a complex about it that I never noticed that I was actually quite fair compared to everyone in the class.’
      • ‘Perhaps I should get a complex about the Jonah joke.’
      • ‘Since then, the girl had believed she was not photogenic and gradually developed an inferiority complex.’
      • ‘He was also a bookworm who had a complex about his family's poverty and a fan of kung fu and violent movies.’
      • ‘He brought all his phobias and complexes to his film-making and whatever ingrained attitudes he had about women were also hauled along.’
      • ‘But for the first time, many Americans were sophisticated enough to have developed a cultural inferiority complex.’
      obsession, phobia, fixation, preoccupation
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  • 3Chemistry
    An ion or molecule in which one or more groups are linked to a metal atom by coordinate bonds.

    ‘two guanine bases can attach themselves to the same platinum atom, forming a stable complex’
    • ‘Metal complexes are generally prepared by reacting a salt with another molecule or ion.’
    • ‘Dyson and Welton used water and ionic liquid soluble organometallic clusters and complexes to catalyse hydrogenation of the aromatics.’
    • ‘If two molecules or complexes have the same molecular formula they are candidates for stereochemical analysis.’
    • ‘It correctly accounts for the structures of most covalent compounds of elements other than transition metal complexes.’
    • ‘It is known that metal cations form complexes with anionic phosphodiester groups and carbonyl oxygens in the glycerol backbone of phosphocholine lipids.’
    1. 3.1 Any loosely bonded species formed by the association of two molecules.
      ‘cross-linked protein–DNA complexes’
      • ‘The chromo-domain and the related chromo-shadow domain mediate the formation of protein complexes and their association with chromatin.’
      • ‘Recently two checkpoint sensor protein complexes have been shown to bind damaged DNA.’
      • ‘This might occur in newly synthesized proteins to aid in folding or in mature proteins to control their activity or association with other protein complexes.’
      • ‘This clearly suggests that the newly formed species may correspond to complexes of PEI with heparin.’
      • ‘It is not, however, clear whether association of ternary complexes is necessary to confer photoactivity, for instance by a stabilization effect.’

verb

[with object]Chemistry
  • Make (an atom or compound) form a complex with another.

    ‘the DNA was complexed with the nuclear extract’
    • ‘Several membrane protein structures have been solved in which the protein is complexed with a specific lipid.’
    • ‘Chloride is complexed with the silver chromate and fixed in a circular pattern around the entry point.’
    • ‘However, as mammalian cells will not readily take up naked nucleic acids, the RNAs have to be complexed with agents such as cationic lipids to allow them to enter the cells.’
    • ‘They may reduce mineral metal ions through direct contact or by reducing complexed ions.’
    • ‘Iron is mostly complexed with the organic ligands or colloids that are very abundant in natural seawater.’

Origin

Mid 17th century (in the sense ‘group of related elements’): from Latin complexus, past participle (used as a noun) of complectere ‘embrace, comprise’, later associated with complexus ‘plaited’; the adjective is partly via French complexe.

Pronunciation

complex

/ˈkɒmplɛks/