Definition of complexion in US English:



  • 1The natural color, texture, and appearance of a person's skin, especially of the face.

    ‘a smooth, pale complexion’
    • ‘He was a tall fellow, slight of build with thinning red hair and a pale complexion to match.’
    • ‘Purple is a much better colour for your complexion than blue, trust me.’
    • ‘I was a surly teenage then, and it didn't do much for my complexion or temper.’
    • ‘The offender is said to be in his early 20s, six feet tall and slim with a pale complexion and dark mousy hair.’
    • ‘She has a pale complexion and was wearing a blue denim jacket with jeans.’
    • ‘When will I have perfect, flawless complexion?’
    • ‘I half-thought some of these players' natural complexions were gray before watching this.’
    • ‘All I can make out is that she has black hair and eyes, a fair complexion, and a very bad temper.’
    • ‘He had a pale complexion with slight dark stubble on his face.’
    • ‘My only worry is, I don't think orange is a colour that suits my complexion.’
    • ‘He looked at his pasty complexion in the mirror.’
    • ‘They both had similar figures and skin complexions, courtesy of their father's side of the family.’
    • ‘Their complexion is pale and duskish and their skin is rough and cold.’
    • ‘It is believed to help clear the complexion and give the skin a fine texture and bring out its natural glow.’
    • ‘White is a popular color when it comes to summer fashion and it works well with most skin complexions.’
    • ‘The passengers aboard the winged champions had equally natural complexions.’
    • ‘Moretti had a smooth complexion the colour of clotted cream and a face full of cinnamon freckles.’
    • ‘His complexion was pale and there was blood coming from his nose.’
    • ‘She had waist length, ebony hair and her skin complexion wasn't too pale nor too dark.’
    • ‘He had thin facial features with a long pointed nose and a pale complexion.’
    skin, skin colour, skin colouring, skin tone, skin texture, pigmentation
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  • 2The general aspect or character of something.

    ‘Congress's new complexion became boldly apparent last summer’
    ‘wind, rain, and road construction have gradually changed Baja's complexion’
    • ‘That would change the complexion and tone of campaigning considerably.’
    • ‘The fall of the wicket brought Vowles to the crease and the game changed complexion.’
    • ‘Being alpha male in his own pit will put a different complexion on things.’
    • ‘The peace was regulated, and thereby preserved, by the altered political complexion of Germany.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘However, it was the performance of Neil Carew that really changed the complexion of the game.’
    • ‘He is both a pure scorer and a persistent defender with the ability to alter the complexion of any game.’
    • ‘The change in social complexion is having an impact and people are more aware of crime because of various mediums.’
    • ‘That, obviously, would have changed the complexion of the whole game.’
    • ‘The complexion of the confrontation may have changed entirely with Thompson's dismissal.’
    • ‘The moments that followed changed the complexion of the game and Conn Rangers history forever.’
    • ‘Now the majors have grown into generals in positions of immense power and the complexion of the army has changed drastically.’
    • ‘What he told me put a very different complexion on the story.’
    • ‘In the space of five minutes, Achill landed a trio of goals and the complexion of the game was never the same.’
    • ‘Had any of those goal chances been converted the complexion of this game may have been very different.’
    • ‘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.’
    perspective, angle, slant, interpretation
    type, kind, sort
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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 humors, hence complexion (sense 1) (late 16th century) as a visible sign of this.