Etymology: Late Latin complexus totality, from Latin, embrace, from complecti
1. a whole made up of complicated or interrelated parts <a complex of welfare programs> <the military-industrial complex> 2. a. a group of culture traits relating to a single activity (as hunting), process (as use of flint), or culture unit b. (1) a group of repressed desires and memories that exerts a dominating influence upon the personality (2) an exaggerated reaction to or preoccupation with a subject or situation c. a group of obviously related units of which the degree and nature of the relationship is imperfectly known d. the sum of factors (as symptoms) characterizing a disease or condition 3. a chemical association of two or more species (as ions or molecules) joined usually by weak electrostatic bonds rather than covalent bonds 4. a building or group of buildings housing related units <an apartment complex> <a sports complex> II. adjective Etymology: Latin complexus, past participle of complecti to embrace, comprise (a multitude of objects), from com- + plectere to braid — more at ply Date: 1645 1. a. composed of two or more parts ; composite b. (1) of a word having a bound form as one or more of its immediate constituents <unmanly is a complex word> (2) of a sentence consisting of a main clause and one or more subordinate clauses 2. hard to separate, analyze, or solve 3. of, concerned with, being, or containing complex numbers <a complex root> <complex analysis> • complexly adverb • complexness noun Synonyms: complex, complicated, intricate, involved, knotty mean having confusingly interrelated parts. complex suggests the unavoidable result of a necessary combining and does not imply a fault or failure <a complex recipe>. complicated applies to what offers great difficulty in understanding, solving, or explaining <complicated legal procedures>. intricate suggests such interlacing of parts as to make it nearly impossible to follow or grasp them separately <an intricate web of deceit>. involved implies extreme complication and often disorder <a rambling, involved explanation>. knotty suggests complication and entanglement that make solution or understanding improbable <knotty ethical questions>. III. transitive verb Date: 1658 1. to make complex or into a complex 2. chelate • complexation noun
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.