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From Middle English compleynte, from Anglo-Norman compleint, from Old French compleindre, eventually from Latin planctus (whence plaint).


  • IPA(key): /kəmˈpleɪnt/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -eɪnt


complaint (countable and uncountable, plural complaints)

  1. The act of complaining.
    • 2020 July 29, Paul Stephen, “A new collaboration centred on New Street”, in Rail, page 54:
      Complaints have risen in particular from passengers changing trains, who have observed little or no improvement in their ability to navigate between the station's 13 platforms.
  2. A grievance, problem, difficulty, or concern.
    I have no complaints about the quality of his work, but I don't enjoy his company.
  3. (law) In a civil action, the first pleading of the plaintiff setting out the facts on which the claim is based;
    The purpose is to give notice to the adversary of the nature and basis of the claim asserted.
  4. (law) In criminal law, the preliminary charge or accusation made by one person against another to the appropriate court or officer, usually a magistrate.
    However, court proceedings, such as a trial, cannot be instituted until an indictment or information has been handed down against the defendant.
  5. A bodily disorder or disease; the symptom of such a disorder.
    Don't come too close; I've got this nasty complaint.


Derived terms[edit]


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