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Borrowed from Latin complicatus, past participle of complicare (to fold together), from com- (together) + plicare (to fold, weave, knit); see plaid, and compare complex


complicate (third-person singular simple present complicates, present participle complicating, simple past and past participle complicated)

  1. (transitive) To make complex; to modify so as to make something intricate or difficult.
    • 1896, Arthur Edward Waite, Devil-Worship in France, or the Question of Lucifer Chapter 14
      Let us, however, put aside for the moment the mendacities and forgeries which complicate the question of Lucifer, and let us approach Palladism from an altogether different side.
  2. (transitive) To involve in a convoluted matter.
    Don't complicate yourself in issues that are beyond the scope of your understanding.
    John has been complicated in the affair by new tapes that surfaced.
    The DA has made every effort to complicate me in the scandal.


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complicate (comparative more complicate, superlative most complicate)

  1. (obsolete) Intertwined.
  2. (now rare, poetic) Complex, complicated.
    • 1745, Edward Young, Night-Thoughts, I:
      How poor, how rich, how abject, how august, / How complicate, how wonderful, is Man!

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