Definition of COMPLEXITY


Complexity is a noun that primarily refers to the state or quality of being intricate, multifaceted, or difficult to understand. It can be understood in various contexts:

Intellectual Complexity: In cognitive psychology and education, complexity refers to the level of difficulty or intricacy of a concept, problem, or task. Intellectual complexity involves analyzing and synthesizing information from multiple sources or perspectives. Educators and researchers study cognitive complexity to understand learning processes, critical thinking skills, and problem-solving abilities across different domains and disciplines.

System Complexity: In systems theory and engineering, complexity describes the structure, behavior, and interactions of complex systems composed of numerous interconnected elements or subsystems. System complexity may arise from nonlinear dynamics, emergent properties, or feedback loops. Engineers and scientists study system complexity to model, analyze, and manage complex systems such as ecosystems, transportation networks, or information systems, aiming to optimize performance and resilience.

Social Complexity: In sociology and anthropology, complexity refers to the intricate patterns of social organization, cultural practices, and interpersonal relationships within human societies. Social complexity arises from factors such as division of labor, social stratification, and cultural diversity. Social scientists examine social complexity to understand societal dynamics, power structures, and cultural change, exploring how social institutions, norms, and values shape individual behavior and collective outcomes.

In summary, “complexity” is a noun that describes the state or quality of being intricate, multifaceted, or difficult to understand. It has applications in cognitive psychology, education, systems theory, engineering, sociology, anthropology, and various other fields where analyzing, modeling, and managing complexity is essential for understanding and addressing real-world challenges.

Examples of COMPLEXITY in a sentence

  • Complexity refers to the state of being intricate, convoluted, or composed of multiple interconnected parts.
  • The complexity of a problem often requires careful analysis and consideration of various factors.
  • In mathematics, complexity theory explores the behavior of systems with many interacting components.
  • Understanding the complexity of human behavior requires studying psychology, sociology, and anthropology.
  • Software engineers strive to manage the complexity of computer systems by using modular design principles and clear documentation.
  • The complexity of ecosystems arises from the interactions between different species and environmental factors.
  • Economic complexity theory examines the relationships between industries and countries in global trade networks.
  • Philosophers ponder the complexity of existence and the nature of reality, posing questions about the meaning of life and consciousness.


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

  • Latin Roots: The term complexity is derived from the Latin word “complexus,” which is a past participle of “complecti,” meaning “to entwine” or “to embrace.” In Latin, “complexus” referred to something that was intricately woven together or composed of interconnected parts.
  • Evolution in Meaning: Over time, the term complexity came to denote the state or quality of being intricate, multifaceted, or composed of numerous interconnected elements. It suggests a level of intricacy or difficulty that arises from the interplay of various components or factors.
  • Philosophical and Scientific Concepts: The concept of complexity has been explored in various fields, including philosophy, mathematics, and science. Philosophers and scholars have grappled with the nature of complexity and its implications for understanding the world and human existence.
  • Mathematical Complexity: In mathematics, complexity theory examines the behavior of complex systems and the emergence of patterns or behaviors that arise from interactions between simple components. This field encompasses topics such as chaos theory, fractals, and nonlinear dynamics.
  • Interdisciplinary Perspectives: Complexity is a multifaceted concept that is studied from interdisciplinary perspectives, including biology, sociology, economics, and computer science. It is often associated with phenomena such as emergence, self-organization, and adaptation.
  • Contemporary Usage: In contemporary discourse, complexity is commonly used to describe phenomena, systems, or problems that defy simple explanations or solutions. It highlights the interconnectedness and interdependence of various elements within a system, emphasizing the need for holistic and nuanced approaches to understanding and addressing complex issues.

Overall, the term complexity has deep roots in Latin and has evolved to encompass a broad range of meanings and applications across different disciplines and contexts. It reflects humanity’s ongoing quest to comprehend the intricate nature of the world and the systems within it.


  • Complication
  • Elaborateness
  • Sophistication
  • Intricacy
  • Multifacetedness
  • Difficulty
  • Involvement
  • Compoundedness


  • Simplicity
  • Plainness
  • Ease
  • Clarity
  • Straightforwardness
  • Uncomplicatedness
  • Simplification
  • Transparency
  • Entanglement
  • Complication
  • Complexity theory
  • Complex system
  • Compounded
  • Involved
  • Complex structure
  • Elaboration

🌐 🇬🇧 COMPLEXITY in other languages

Terms of Use

Privacy & Cookies


Who We Are

Main Sections


Geographical Locations



Let´s Talk



® 2024