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From Middle English complaynen, from Old French complaindre, from Medieval Latin complangere (to bewail, complain), from Latin com- (together) + plangere (to strike, beat, as the breast in extreme grief, bewail); see plain, plaint.


  • IPA(key): /kəmˈpleɪn/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -eɪn


complain (third-person singular simple present complains, present participle complaining, simple past and past participle complained)

  1. (intransitive) To express feelings of pain, dissatisfaction, or resentment.
    Joe was always complaining about the noise made by his neighbours.
    • Milton
      O loss of sight, of thee I most complain!
  2. (intransitive) To make a formal accusation or bring a formal charge.
    They've complained about me to the police again.
    • Shakespeare
      Now, Master Shallow, you'll complain of me to the king?
  3. To creak or squeak, as a timber or wheel.
    the complaining bed-springs



The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.

Further reading[edit]