Definition of complex adjective from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈkɒmpleks//
    ; NAmE NAmE//kəmˈpleks//
    , NAmE//ˈkɑːmpleks//
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  1. 1  made of many different things or parts that are connected; difficult to understand synonym complicated complex machinery the complex structure of the human brain a complex road system a complex argument/problem/subject
  2. 2 (grammar) (of a word or sentence) containing one main part (= the root of a word or main clause of a sentence) and one or more other parts (called affixes or subordinate clauses) In the complex sentence, ‘I'd like to go to the beach, if it's warm enough’, ‘I'd like to go to the beach’ is the main clause, and ‘if it's warm enough’ is the subordinate clause. compare compound
  3. Word Originmid 17th cent. (in the sense ‘group of related elements’): from Latin complexus, past participle (used as a noun) of complectere ‘embrace, comprise’, later associated with complexus ‘plaited’; the adjective is partly via French complexe.Extra examples technically complex surgery She managed to put over a fairly complex argument in a brilliantly simple way. The mechanism involves a complex arrangement of rods and cogs.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: complex