Definition of complication in English:



  • 1A circumstance that complicates something; a difficulty.

    ‘there is a complication concerning ownership of the site’
    • ‘Deidre's been having a few complications at work which have been greatly stressing her out.’
    • ‘Unfortunately, translating a lab success to a person is fraught with complications.’
    • ‘Three projects keep you energised, as deadlines have to be met and complications sorted out.’
    • ‘Without proper cover, difficulties become disasters and complications become crises.’
    • ‘Even after Northern Rock managed to sort out the problem, there were still further complications.’
    • ‘While the route is clearer for fund members, the range of complications facing scheme administrators is vast.’
    • ‘From this arise the complications that do not strengthen democracy, but weaken it in the long term.’
    • ‘But the site carries a number of complications that could slow down progress.’
    • ‘Due to some complications we could not catch the connecting flight that day.’
    • ‘It was as simple as it looked and the complications of the previous 74 minutes had suddenly evaporated.’
    • ‘Sometimes you need reading matter from a universe without emotional complications.’
    • ‘This complication is circumvented by using the matrix approach described earlier to obtain a first crude estimate of the price of the equivalent nonconvertible bond.’
    • ‘But that would be to forget the other complications of government and electoral boundaries.’
    • ‘The process has also been stalled by complications over the ownership of ESB assets.’
    • ‘A further complication would be the question of the ownership of the intellectual property.’
    • ‘The problem is that these very complications are all too neat and not too plausible.’
    • ‘He says, however, that the questions about whether the supreme court is going to be a complication are difficult to answer because it's too soon.’
    • ‘It was a happy complication but a complication nonetheless.’
    • ‘I left bemused, bewildered and even more interested in a region of complexities and complications.’
    • ‘Another complication is that current computer capabilities present a difficulty between users and the music software developers.’
    difficulty, problem, issue, obstacle, hurdle, stumbling block, barrier, impediment
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    1. 1.1[mass noun]An involved or confused condition or state.
      ‘to add further complication, English-speakers use a different name’
      • ‘The fact that we had to walk half a mile through a near frozen pasture to reach the shed where Peanuts had been ensconced with mountains of hay and a trough of fresh water added another layer of complication.’
      • ‘I don't think there wasn't much complication in this case.’
      • ‘Spatially variable selection adds substantial complication to the calculation of the probability of fixation of a new mutation in a structured population.’
      • ‘There are people who never have any hardships in life, no complication, no confusion.’
      • ‘I love complication but then again, that's my life.’
      • ‘If you want to take things further you can, but it adds a little extra complication to the proceedings.’
      • ‘I know of nowhere else where love of country comes so easily and devoid of complication.’
      • ‘Simplicity means freedom from complication, from guile - but this freedom is possible only through reduction, submission, exclusion and control.’
      • ‘His relationship to his legally native, but culturally adopted, country is an area of complication he leaves aside in this self-portrait.’
      • ‘The rising full moon and twilight atmosphere speak of the tranquility of a natural world far away from the machinery and complication of modern life.’
      • ‘Adjustable steering columns add weight and complication, so Brooke use a fixed column set to suit Mr Average, though non average customers can have it tailored to suit them during build.’
      • ‘The standard setting seemed fine on all occasions, so the end result is complication and rather inconsistent responses.’
      • ‘Of course, the immediate step is to embrace the sport of complication with academic fervour.’
      • ‘An incorrect touchdown speed leads to a bounced landing that adds complication.’
      • ‘This process adds algebraic complication, and it is full of opportunities for errors in principle and in calculation.’
      • ‘He is 26, in his playing prime and past those kid years that can bring on-ice inconsistency and off-ice complication.’
      • ‘But interoperability adds a layer of complication to the job of getting a good specification.’
      • ‘How is it different from the AI in a typical shooter, and how much complication did these differences add?’
      • ‘Keeping him fed, his clothes clean, and his medications filled added complication, as did driving him to doctors and therapists.’
      • ‘Head width, written track signal consistency, and other factors are variables, each of which adds complication.’
      complexity, complicatedness, difficulty, intricacy, convolution, convolutedness, elaboration
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  • 2Medicine
    A secondary disease or condition aggravating an already existing one.

    ‘she developed complications after the surgery’
    • ‘Hypertension is a common complication of pregnancy that may have serious consequences to the mother and fetus.’
    • ‘What are the common symptoms and complications of diverticular disease?’
    • ‘Myocarditis may develop as a complication of an infectious disease, usually caused by a virus.’
    • ‘Of those, 818 have had diabetes at least 10 years and have developed kidney disease, a common complication of diabetes.’
    • ‘Pneumothorax is a common complication of pulmonary disease or injury.’


Late Middle English: from late Latin complicatio(n-), from Latin complicare fold together (see complicate).