Definition of COMPLEX

COMPLEX Adjective and Noun

Complex serves as both an adjective and a noun, embodying various meanings depending on its usage. As an adjective, it describes something consisting of many interconnected parts or elements, often challenging to understand or analyze due to its intricacy or sophistication. As a noun, it refers to a group or system characterized by complexity, such as a network of interconnected ideas or a structure with intricate components.

COMPLEX as an adjective

In its adjective form, complex describes entities, systems, or phenomena that exhibit a high degree of intricacy, diversity, or sophistication. It suggests the presence of multiple interconnected parts, layers, or components that interact in intricate ways, often making the entity difficult to understand, analyze, or navigate.

Intricacy and Sophistication: Complex entities or systems may possess intricate structures, processes, or relationships that require careful examination or analysis to comprehend fully. They may involve layers of interconnected elements, dynamics of cause and effect, or emergent properties that contribute to their overall complexity and richness.

Challenges in Understanding: Understanding and navigating complex phenomena or systems can present challenges due to the interplay of multiple factors, uncertainties, or nonlinear interactions. Complex situations may involve ambiguity, unpredictability, or conflicting perspectives, requiring nuanced approaches, interdisciplinary perspectives, or advanced analytical tools to unravel and address effectively.

Sophisticated Solutions: Addressing complex challenges often requires sophisticated solutions that consider the diverse and interconnected nature of the problem at hand. It may involve interdisciplinary collaboration, systems thinking, and adaptive approaches that account for the dynamic interactions and feedback loops inherent in complex systems or phenomena.

COMPLEX as a noun

As a noun, a complex refers to a group or system characterized by complexity, such as a network of interconnected ideas, a psychological construct representing a pattern of thoughts or behaviors, or a physical structure with intricate components. Complexes may arise in various domains, including psychology, sociology, biology, and engineering.

Psychological Complexes: In psychology, complexes are patterns of thoughts, emotions, or behaviors that form around particular themes, experiences, or traumas, influencing an individual’s perceptions, beliefs, and actions. Psychological complexes may arise from childhood experiences, cultural influences, or unresolved conflicts, shaping personality traits, interpersonal dynamics, and coping strategies.

Social and Cultural Complexes: In sociology and cultural studies, complexes refer to patterns of behavior, beliefs, or symbols that emerge within social groups or cultures, influencing collective identity, norms, and values. Social complexes may include cultural memes, ideological movements, or historical legacies that shape group dynamics, social structures, and cultural practices.

In conclusion, complex encompasses both an adjective describing something consisting of many interconnected parts or elements, often challenging to understand or analyze, and a noun referring to a group or system characterized by complexity. Whether describing intricate phenomena or analyzing interconnected systems, embracing the nuances and challenges of complexity enriches our understanding of the world and informs more effective approaches to addressing complex challenges and opportunities in diverse domains.

Examples of COMPLEX in a sentence

COMPLEX as an adjective in a sentence

  • The instructions for assembling the furniture were so complex that it took hours to complete.
  • She has a complex personality, with many layers and nuances that are not easily understood.
  • The issue at hand is complex, involving numerous factors that must be carefully considered.
  • Understanding quantum mechanics requires a complex understanding of physics and mathematics.
  • The relationship between the two countries is complex, with a history of conflicts and alliances.
  • His artwork is known for its complex compositions and intricate details.
  • The novel explores complex themes of identity, belonging, and redemption.
  • Dealing with complex emotions such as grief and longing can be challenging but ultimately rewarding.

COMPLEX as a noun in a sentence

  • A complex can refer to a group of buildings or structures that are closely situated and interconnected, often serving a specific purpose or function.
  • The shopping complex houses a variety of stores, restaurants, and entertainment venues under one roof.
  • A research complex on the university campus provides state-of-the-art facilities for scientists and scholars to collaborate on innovative projects.
  • The industrial complex consists of factories, warehouses, and processing plants, supporting the local economy with jobs and production.
  • An apartment complex offers residents amenities such as a swimming pool, fitness center, and communal areas for social gatherings.
  • The office complex includes multiple floors of workspace, meeting rooms, and administrative facilities for businesses to operate efficiently.
  • A medical complex encompasses hospitals, clinics, and medical offices, providing comprehensive healthcare services to the community.
  • A residential complex may include a mix of housing options such as apartments, townhouses, and condominiums within a shared community environment.

Etymology of COMPLEX

The term “complex” traces its origins to the Latin word “complexus,” which means “twisted” or “entwined.”

  • In Latin, “complexus” referred to something intricately interwoven or composed of multiple elements.
  • From Latin, “complexus” entered into Middle English as “complex”, retaining its sense of being composed of interconnected parts.
  • Over time, “complex” evolved to encompass broader meanings, including intricate, complicated, or composed of many interconnected elements.

In modern usage, “complex” can refer to various phenomena or systems characterized by their intricate structure or composition, such as a complex mathematical problem or a complex organization.

The etymology of “complex” highlights its original connotation of being twisted or interwoven, which has evolved to encompass diverse meanings reflecting intricate structures or compositions in different domains


  • Complicated
  • Intricate
  • Elaborate
  • Multifaceted
  • Involved
  • Sophisticated
  • Detailed
  • Challenging


  • Simple
  • Straightforward
  • Basic
  • Uncomplicated
  • Elementary
  • Clear
  • Easy
  • Undemanding


  • Complexity
  • Sophistication
  • Complication
  • Intricacy
  • Difficulty
  • Ambiguity
  • Elaboration
  • Complexity theory

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