Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical, Encyclopedia.


 (kəm-plĕks′, kŏm′plĕks′)
a. Consisting of interconnected or interwoven parts; composite: complex equipment with multiple components.
b. Composed of two or more units: a complex carbohydrate.
2. Difficult to understand for being intricate or involved; complicated: a complex problem.
3. Grammar
a. Consisting of at least one bound form. Used of a word.
b. Consisting of an independent clause and at least one other independent or dependent clause. Used of a sentence.
n. (kŏm′plĕks′)
1. A whole composed of interconnected or interwoven parts: a complex of cities and suburbs; the military-industrial complex.
2. A building or group of buildings used for a single purpose: a sports complex.
3. In psychoanalysis, a group of related, often repressed ideas and impulses that compel characteristic or habitual patterns of thought, feelings, and behavior.
4. An exaggerated or obsessive concern or fear: has a complex about his weight.
5. Medicine The combination of factors, symptoms, or signs of a disease or disorder that forms a syndrome.

[Latin complexus, past participle of complectī, to entwine; see complect.]

com·plex′ly adv.
com·plex′ness n.
Synonyms: complex, complicated, intricate, involved, tangled
These adjectives mean having parts so interconnected as to hamper comprehension or perception of the whole. Complex implies a combination of many interwoven parts: The composer transformed a simple folk tune into a complex set of variations. Complicated stresses a relationship of parts that affect each other in elaborate, often obscure ways: The party's complicated platform confused many voters. Intricate refers to a pattern of intertwining parts that is difficult to follow or analyze: "No one could soar into a more intricate labyrinth of refined phraseology" (Anthony Trollope).
Involved implies a close but confusing interconnection between many different parts: The movie's plot was criticized as being too involved. Tangled strongly suggests the random twisting of many parts: "Oh, what a tangled web we weave, / When first we practice to deceive!" (Sir Walter Scott).
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Adv.1.complexly - in a complex manner
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
References in classic literature ?
They have left the new, more complexly organized, and more perfect, yet simple and beautiful method of photography in the hands of tradesmen, sneering at it publicly and resorting to its aid surreptitiously.
Critique: A dark, wicked satire on the legal system and a disturbing, if ambivalent, allegory on guilt, justice, violence and morality, "The Execution of Justice" is an inherently riveting, complexly scripted, neo-noir classic by Friedrich Durrenmatt.
The company's latest thematic report titled "Robotics in Oil & Gas" reveals that the complex challenges, particularly in the exploration and production of hydrocarbons, are prompting companies to explore the potential of complexly engineered robotics solutions to work autonomously or in conjunction with field operators.
Leibowitz's award winning novel, "Miracle Man" and is another of his emotionally-charged stories that is a deftly crafted, complexly scripted, conspiracy thriller of the first order.
Extremely visible change in infrastructure, educational infrastructure and cultural institutes and in changing the environment and in terms of ecology, many, many complexly accomplished things.
Gabby Padilla was the heartbreaking assassin Corday; Jenny Jamora rendered an oddly sympathetic dimension to what should have been an outrageously shallow Marie Antoinette; Sarah Facuri was the central conflicted Olympe, with her dithering idealism as both feminist and artist; and, perhaps most memorably, Bituin Escalante was Marianne, complexly nuanced as both political and racial outsider.
We all grapple with the loss of our childhoods but also more complexly with the loss of our former selves: How would the child-me regard the adult-me?
As co-CEO of Complexly, a production company whose work includes the popular YouTube channel Crash Course, Green is well-versed in that realm.
Mozart used to be period music taken seriously, academically and complexly but Neville made it light and easy going.
Swimming Upstream tackles complexly interwoven genealogies of kinship, war, belonging, and nature with characters who must unpack decades of secrecy, lies, and betrayal.
The eradication of poverty and the establishment of inclusive quality education for all are two complexly linked aspects of life.