/adj., v. kəmˈplɛks, ˈkɒm
plɛks; n. ˈkɒm
plɛks/ Show Spelled Pronunciation
[adj., v. kuh
m-pleks, kom-pleks; n. kom-pleks]
1. composed of many interconnected parts; compound; composite: a complex highway system.
2. characterized by a very complicated or involved arrangement of parts, units, etc.: complex machinery.
3. so complicated or intricate as to be hard to understand or deal with: a complex problem.
4. Grammar. a. (of a word) consisting of two parts, at least one of which is a bound form, as childish, which consists of the word child and the bound form -ish. b. complex sentence.
5. Mathematics. pertaining to or using complex numbers: complex methods; complex vector space. –noun
6. an intricate or complicated association or assemblage of related things, parts, units, etc.: the entire complex of our educational system; an apartment complex.
7. Psychology. a system of interrelated, emotion-charged ideas, feelings, memories, and impulses that is usually repressed and that gives rise to abnormal or pathological behavior.
8. a fixed idea; an obsessive notion.
9. Mathematics. a. an arbitrary set of elements of a group. b. a collection of simplexes having specified properties.
10. Also called coordination compound.
Chemistry. a compound in which independently existing molecules or ions of a nonmetal (complexing agent) form coordinate bonds with a metal atom or ion. Compare ligand
11. Biochemistry. an entity composed of molecules in which the constituents maintain much of their chemical identity: receptor-hormone complex, enzyme-substrate complex. –verb (used with object)
12. Chemistry. to form a complex with. –verb (used without object)
13. Chemistry. to form a complex.
1645–55; 1905–10 for def. 7; (adj.) < L complexus, ptp. of complectī, complectere to embrace, encompass, include, equiv. to complect- (see complect
) + -tus ptp. suffix; (n.) < LL complexus totality, complex (L: inclusion, grasping, embrace), equiv. to complect(ere) + -tus suffix of v. action; reanalysis of the L v. as “to intertwine (completely)” has influenced sense of the adj.