Definition of complaint in English:



  • 1A statement that a situation is unsatisfactory or unacceptable.

    ‘I intend to make an official complaint’
    ‘there were complaints that the building was an eyesore’
    • ‘And it's their response to the hordes of complaints that makes this ordeal even worse.’
    • ‘It is also understood that complaints that he has been harassed by the media have been lodged with local Gardaí.’
    • ‘I have some sympathy with his complaint.’
    • ‘They hauled the application back before them after complaints that the colour scheme had made the ride too imposing.’
    • ‘Residents-only parking in Witham is to be reviewed after complaints that the scheme is being abused.’
    • ‘I feel that because of the tremendous amount of complaints that they received last year they felt they had to do something.’
    • ‘At the time, TVB countered by saying that it was those complaints that were unhealthy.’
    • ‘We have had only one complaint about the letter, and that was not from a church member but from a relative.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, Lismore Council has responded to complaints that it is wasting water.’
    • ‘This followed complaints that drivers were flouting the one-way system because they could not see the sign until it was too late.’
    • ‘Some of the worst complaints that I received were about what was happening inside the interrogation rooms.’
    • ‘The consumer watchdog received written complaints against 120 different airlines last year.’
    • ‘The tough measures are in response to complaints that the government was taken by surprise by the last protest.’
    • ‘Yet, there are frequent complaints that his films are not easy to understand.’
    • ‘Traffic officers have received a number of complaints that drivers are skirting the barriers.’
    • ‘The latter system has been dogged by complaints that it can too easily be abused by people intent on fraud.’
    • ‘Having said that, we have received dozens of complaints about your statements at our meetings.’
    • ‘Council officials said there had also been complaints that bird seed might attract rats.’
    • ‘Over 40 per cent of households were dissatisfied with how complaints were handled.’
    • ‘She refused to say whether she has received complaints that firms are feasting at the city trough.’
    protest, protestation, objection, remonstrance, statement of dissatisfaction, grievance, charge, accusation, criticism
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    1. 1.1A reason for dissatisfaction.
      ‘I have no complaints about the hotel’
      • ‘The 140 girls visiting Bhubaneswar have ample reason to fear voicing their complaints.’
      • ‘Reporters who covered the war in Europe voiced similar complaints about the lack of information.’
      • ‘When I contacted the hotel about your complaint, he called you to apologize for the inconvenience and to ask what the hotel could do to make things right with you.’
      • ‘The only complaint being heard around the Malton rehearsal rooms is that more chorus backup would have been useful.’
      • ‘They are responsive and I can't think of any legitimate complaint about them.’
      • ‘It is interesting to note that few women have complaints about job-related problems.’
      • ‘My mother's only complaints were that the eight-track had been removed and it handled like a whale.’
      • ‘Accustomed to an ample news presentation at home, Turner, when he travels, has the familiar complaint that some papers these days seem not to have much in them.’
      • ‘He is not the best of communicators, but Bent has no complaints on that score.’
      • ‘Our build-up had been fine: we certainly cannot have any complaints on that score.’
      • ‘The T30 provides the sound quality that its stable-mates do, and on that score I have no complaints.’
      • ‘So it is natural for people to have an opportunity to speak out about their complaints and dissatisfactions.’
      • ‘The best of what is available within the county will be on show this Sunday so we can have no complaints on that score.’
      • ‘My final complaint is the music score.’
      • ‘I have only one minor complaint: I don't know what any of this new music might be called.’
      grievance, bone to pick, axe to grind, grudge
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    2. 1.2The expression of dissatisfaction.
      ‘a letter of complaint’
      ‘he hasn't any cause for complaint’
      • ‘But he was surprised when he received no apology or explanation from the council about the delay and had been close to writing a letter of complaint.’
      • ‘He will have been thinking, for one thing, of the letters of complaint the Yorkshire Post has had from visitors to Haworth, home of the Brontës, who found they could not get away again.’
      • ‘A letter of complaint has been sent to An Post about the anglicisation of its name to The Post Office and a motion condemning this retrograde step was passed unanimously.’
      • ‘But now, despite the fact they had loads of letters of complaint when they dropped their daily crossword, Metro have started Sudoku yesterday’
      • ‘How insulting should my letter of complaint be?’
      • ‘The EMA said the Chase Village resident who wrote the letter of complaint was invited to contact the authority if he wanted further information or clarification.’
      • ‘The agency recently passed 200 letters of complaint to 11 TV stations, including state-owned TVRI.’
      • ‘So I wrote a lengthy letter of complaint instead.’
      • ‘If letters of complaint make soldiers feel better, then let them write.’
      • ‘The month-long trial was scrapped after takings plunged by £26,000 in 13 days and students fired off almost 100 letters of complaint.’
      • ‘‘There are several inaccuracies in the letter of complaint,’ writes the investigator.’
      • ‘Shopkeepers in Barnoldswick are busy writing letters of complaint as the northern part of Barnoldswick has been plunged into chaos by road works outside their businesses.’
      • ‘The officer I spoke to said the painted sign in the road had no legal significance and he was not intending to do anything about it, so I have written a letter of complaint.’
      • ‘Industry representatives sent a blistering letter of complaint to the real-life parliament president.’
      • ‘My usual rule of thumb is that letters of complaint should be polite, concise, constructive and preferably not more than one side of A4.’
      • ‘A friend of mine in the US subsequently wrote in to the offices of Power 99 FM, the station that had suddenly been flooded with letters of complaint.’
      • ‘On December 8, Mr Brodie wrote a letter of complaint to the company's Wakefield office, after which he was offered a free dishwasher and washing machine.’
      • ‘I sent a note round to all Guardian editorial staff with the complete letter of complaint from one of the doctors, and one of the emails, also complete, complaining about the picture of the bus.’
      • ‘Maybe I should write letters of complaint, though.’
      • ‘Sue is also angry that she has only until May 3 to register letters of complaint against the proposed development, and is working as fast as she can to rally the troops to back the objectors.’
      protesting, protestation, objection, exception, grievance, grumbling, carping, whining, moaning, muttering, murmuring
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    3. 1.3Law The plaintiff's reasons for proceeding in a civil action.
      • ‘In August 2003, the plaintiff made a written complaint to the Police Services Board.’
      • ‘Was the investigation of the complaint against the plaintiff negligent?’
      • ‘He went through the chronology of the complaints made by the plaintiffs.’
      • ‘On each, the defendant had urged that he take legal advice in connection with his complaint of wrongful eviction.’
      • ‘At the outset of his investigation he was made aware of a previous complaint about the plaintiff which did not result in any charges being laid.’
  • 2An illness or medical condition, especially a relatively minor one.

    ‘she is receiving treatment for her skin complaint’
    • ‘Perhaps the rain prevented other activities, but it seemed as if everyone in the homeless shelter had some medical complaint.’
    • ‘He had been ill for some months and had various lung complaints and breathing difficulties.’
    • ‘The doctor diagnosed the complaint as a cardiac problem and prescribed heart medicine.’
    • ‘Why didn't you go to the VA with a medical complaint?’
    • ‘Back pain is a complaint often associated with the squat exercise.’
    • ‘However, as time has gone by, I am more convinced than ever that infertility should be treated as a medical complaint, just as any other condition.’
    • ‘I was a remarkably regular attender at my doctor's surgery for a variety of minor complaints.’
    • ‘They also use it to treat arthritis, gastrointestinal complaints and parasitic infections.’
    • ‘The unit is primarily for the treatment of patients with a medical complaint or complication and are clinically deemed ‘low risk’.’
    • ‘Some people suffer from specific back complaints that will always require complete rest.’
    • ‘They should never be allowed to talk about their medical complaints in public with decent people around.’
    • ‘Minerva has long believed that stress can trigger skin complaints, although some dermatologists disagree.’
    • ‘Many diseases or medical conditions have vertigo as an associated complaint, Gantz notes.’
    • ‘Common gastrointestinal complaints such as gastroenteritis, gastritis, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea may occur in recovering patients.’
    • ‘Credited for sorting out a vast array of mild complaints, these yellow tablets are a godsend.’
    • ‘Headache is the most common somatic complaint in children.’
    • ‘Iwan said that his uncle had a number of medical complaints such as hepatitis and diabetes.’
    • ‘It is the presenting complaint in many conditions.’
    • ‘Neck manipulation is often performed for minor complaints, yet carries a risk of major handicap.’
    • ‘A 43-year-old man was admitted with a chief complaint of seizures, fever, and possible aspiration pneumonia.’
    disorder, disease, infection, affliction, illness, ailment, sickness, malady, malaise, infirmity, indisposition, weakness, condition, problem, upset
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Late Middle English: from Old French complainte, feminine past participle of complaindre to lament (see complain).