Definition of complicate in English:



  • 1 Make (something) more difficult or confusing by causing it to be more complex.

    ‘middlemen can complicate the process’
    ‘a complicating factor’
    • ‘There are wide-ranging social and economic factors which complicate things.’
    • ‘The constant shift in mental posture greatly complicates things for the average soldier.’
    • ‘Local factors complicated identities and made remoteness from the centre an unreliable guide to political complexion.’
    • ‘Sometimes I feel we try to complicate what's actually very simple.’
    • ‘Additionally, the ability to detect this signature at a genomic level in the human lineage is complicated by other factors.’
    • ‘He needs a friend, not a girlfriend who will just complicate what's really important.’
    • ‘Further complicating matters are factors such as range-wide variability in habitat conditions that can affect survival.’
    • ‘Any potential sale has been complicated by the presence of bats, a protected species.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘One of the factors complicating the adjustment of the Hmong people has been English language acquisition.’
    • ‘The relationship is complicated by the presence of heterochromatin.’
    • ‘Other factors can also complicate the interpretation of estimates of percentage change.’
    • ‘The assessment of quality of life in adolescents with asthma was complicated by several factors.’
    • ‘Today the situation is complicated by the fact that there's just so much out there.’
    • ‘Why should my job be unnecessarily complicated by students with problems I can't solve?’
    • ‘There are a number of factors which complicate choices about smallpox either for governments or for individuals.’
    • ‘Expecting your sons to exchange properties is unnecessarily complicating the issue.’
    • ‘Proper land ownership documentation is another matter that is complicating the struggle.’
    • ‘Trends in the number of patients colonised on admission may also complicate interpretation of outcomes.’
    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’
      • ‘Pregnancy is not an absolute contraindication to travel unless complicated by an unstable medical condition or impending labor.’
      • ‘Women with preterm delivery and pregnancies complicated by hemoglobinopathies, hypertension, or multiple gestation were excluded.’
      • ‘Stroke may be complicated by several conditions that can alter outcome adversely.’
      • ‘More frequent visits will be necessary for patients with stage 2 hypertension or with complicating comorbid conditions.’
      • ‘Respiratory failure frequently complicates the condition of children who have sustained traumatic injury.’


Early 17th century (in the sense combine, entangle, intertwine): from Latin complicat- folded together from the verb complicare, from com- together + plicare to fold.