Definition of complicate in English:



  • 1 Make (something) more complicated.

    ‘increased choice will complicate matters for the consumer’
    ‘a complicating factor’
    • ‘One of the factors complicating the adjustment of the Hmong people has been English language acquisition.’
    • ‘Trends in the number of patients colonised on admission may also complicate interpretation of outcomes.’
    • ‘Additionally, the ability to detect this signature at a genomic level in the human lineage is complicated by other factors.’
    • ‘Proper land ownership documentation is another matter that is complicating the struggle.’
    • ‘The relationship is complicated by the presence of heterochromatin.’
    • ‘Why should my job be unnecessarily complicated by students with problems I can't solve?’
    • ‘The constant shift in mental posture greatly complicates things for the average soldier.’
    • ‘Any potential sale has been complicated by the presence of bats, a protected species.’
    • ‘Expecting your sons to exchange properties is unnecessarily complicating the issue.’
    • ‘Local factors complicated identities and made remoteness from the centre an unreliable guide to political complexion.’
    • ‘Other factors can also complicate the interpretation of estimates of percentage change.’
    • ‘There are a number of factors which complicate choices about smallpox either for governments or for individuals.’
    • ‘There are wide-ranging social and economic factors which complicate things.’
    • ‘The assessment of quality of life in adolescents with asthma was complicated by several factors.’
    • ‘Further complicating matters are factors such as range-wide variability in habitat conditions that can affect survival.’
    • ‘Sometimes I feel we try to complicate what's actually very simple.’
    • ‘He needs a friend, not a girlfriend who will just complicate what's really important.’
    • ‘As I can see it, there are two factors that start to complicate the game, somewhat affecting its gameplay.’
    • ‘The first factor complicating the fight against doping, he said, is the imperfect art of testing.’
    • ‘Today the situation is complicated by the fact that there's just so much out there.’
    make difficult, make more difficult, make complex, make complicated, mix up
    confuse, muddle, entangle, embroil
    mess up, snarl up, screw up
    perplex, embarrass
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Medicine Introduce complications in (an existing condition)
      ‘smoking may complicate pregnancy’
      ‘patients with complicating biliary calculi’
      • ‘Respiratory failure frequently complicates the condition of children who have sustained traumatic injury.’
      • ‘Pregnancy is not an absolute contraindication to travel unless complicated by an unstable medical condition or impending labor.’
      • ‘More frequent visits will be necessary for patients with stage 2 hypertension or with complicating comorbid conditions.’
      • ‘Stroke may be complicated by several conditions that can alter outcome adversely.’
      • ‘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.