[com.plex] n [LL complexus totality, fr. L, embrace, fr. complecti] (1643) 1: a whole made up of complicated or interrelated parts "a ~ of university buildings" "a ~ of welfare programs" "the military-industrial ~"
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 a subject or situation c: a group of obviously related units of which the degree and nature of the relationship is imperfectly known
3: a chemical association of two or more species (as ions or molecules) joined usu. by weak electrostatic bonds rather than covalent bonds
com.plex adj [L complexus, pp. of complecti to embrace, comprise (a multitude of objects), fr. com- + plectere to braid--more at ply] (ca. 1652) 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 ~ 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 ~ root" "~ analysis" -- com.plex.ly adv -- com.plex.ness n syn 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". com.plex vt (1658) 1: to make complex or into a complex
2: chelate -- com.plex.a.tion n