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Back-formation from complicity, most likely, which from French complicité, from complice (partner, accomplice), from Latin complexus, complicem (partner).


  • (UK, US) IPA(key): /kəmˈplɪs.ɪt/
  • (file)
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɪsɪt


complicit (comparative more complicit, superlative most complicit)

  1. Associated with or participating in an activity, especially one of a questionable nature.
    • 1861, Henry M. Wheeler, The Slaves' Champion, page 203:
      It [slavery] has set the seal of a complicit, guilty silence upon the most orthodox pulpits and the saintliest tongues, []
    • 1973, Angus Wilson, As If by Magic, Secker and Warburg, page 177:
      "I confess," and the Englishman turned with a near complicit grin to Hamo, "I have certain vulgar tastes myself."
    • 2005 March 7, Larry Dennsion, “Letters”, in Time:
      Khan's sale of nuclear secrets and a complicit Pakistani government have made the world a ticking time bomb.
    • 2023 July 26, Christian Wolmar, “Closing ticket offices to lead to 'catch-22' for passengers”, in RAIL, number 988, page 42:
      I have been critical of the RDG in the past for merely being a cypher for government announcements, but the failure of its members to make a stand on this issue and not be complicit in the Government's subterfuge is a shocking indictment of their failure to protect the industry.


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