From Middle English complaynen, from Old French complaindre, from Medieval Latin complangere (to bewail, complain), from Latin com- (together) + plangere (to strike, beat, as the breast in extreme grief, bewail); see plain, plaint.


  • IPA(key): /kəmˈpleɪn/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -eɪn


complain (third-person singular simple present complains, present participle complaining, simple past and past participle complained)

  1. (intransitive) To express feelings of pain, dissatisfaction, or resentment.
    Joe was always complaining about the noise made by his neighbours.
  2. (intransitive) To make a formal accusation or bring a formal charge.
    They've complained about me to the police again.
  3. To creak or squeak, as a timber or wheel.
    the complaining bed-springs


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