Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Idioms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.


intr.v. com·plained, com·plain·ing, com·plains
1. To express feelings of pain, dissatisfaction, or resentment.
2. To make a formal accusation or bring a formal charge; file a complaint.

[Middle English compleinen, from Old French complaindre, complaign-, from Vulgar Latin *complangere : Latin com-, intensive pref.; see com- + Latin plangere, to lament; see plāk- in Indo-European roots.]

com·plain′er n.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Adj.1.complaining - expressing pain or dissatisfaction of resentment; "a complaining boss"
uncomplaining - not complaining; "uncomplaining courage"
References in classic literature ?
I know I do--teaching those tiresome children nearly all day, when I'm longing to enjoy myself at home," began Meg, in the complaining tone again.
In the darkness by the window, as he went through the door, he could hear the thin old voice whimpering and complaining.
This sound brought an answer from the bed-- a long complaining cry--as if Pavel were having bad dreams or were waking to some old misery.
Now, I am not complaining, for I know it must be so.
Would he dare to go home and eat bread that had been earned by Ona, weak and complaining as she was, knowing that he had been given a chance, and had not had the nerve to take it?
said Marie, sharply; "she's been complaining, I suppose.
At first I had only two hands; but before I had left home I was already employing fifteen, and running night and day; and the atmospheric result was getting so pronounced that the king went sort of fainting and gasping around and said he did not believe he could stand it much longer, and Sir Launcelot got so that he did hardly anything but walk up and down the roof and swear, although I told him it was worse up there than any- where else, but he said he wanted plenty of air; and he was always complaining that a palace was no place for a soap factory anyway, and said if a man was to start one in his house he would be damned if he wouldn't strangle him.
But no one is the worse for the journey; certainly not Cathy, nor Dorcas, nor Soldier Boy; and as for me, I am not complaining.
There were no sounds but the dulled complaining of the torrent and the occasional tinkling of a distant bell.
There was a voiceless interval of some duration now, in which no sounds were heard but the beating of the rain upon the panes, the sighing and complaining of the winds, and now and then a muffled sob from Roxana.
I'm on the point, sometimes, of complaining that they - but I'll not - '
Mary told him her story about the midnight wuthering of the wind which had wakened her and about the faint far-off sounds of the complaining voice which had led her down the dark corridors with her candle and had ended with her opening of the door of the dimly lighted room with the carven four-posted bed in the corner.