Definitions for: Complex


[n] a whole structure (as a building) made up of interconnected or related structures
[n] a conceptual whole made up of complicated and related parts
[n] (psychoanalysis) a combination of emotions and impulses that have been rejected from awareness but still influence a person's behavior
[n] a compound described in terms of the central atom to which other atoms are bound or coordinated
[adj] complicated in structure; consisting of interconnected parts; "a complex set of variations based on a simple folk melody"; "a complex mass of diverse laws and customs"



Webster (1913) Definition: Com"plex, a. [L. complexus, p. p. of complecti to
entwine around, comprise; com- + plectere to twist, akin to
plicare to fold. See Plait, n.]
1. Composed of two or more parts; composite; not simple; as,
a complex being; a complex idea.

Ideas thus made up of several simple ones put
together, I call complex; such as beauty, gratitude,
a man, an army, the universe. --Locke.

2. Involving many parts; complicated; intricate.

When the actual motions of the heavens are
calculated in the best possible way, the process is
difficult and complex. --Whewell.

Complex fraction. See Fraction.

Complex number (Math.), in the theory of numbers, an
expression of the form a + b[root]-1, when a and b are
ordinary integers.

Syn: See Intricate.


Com"plex, n. [L. complexus]
Assemblage of related things; collection; complication.

This parable of the wedding supper comprehends in it
the whole complex of all the blessings and privileges
exhibited by the gospel. --South.

Complex of lines (Geom.), all the possible straight lines
in space being considered, the entire system of lines
which satisfy a single relation constitute a complex; as,
all the lines which meet a given curve make up a complex.
The lines which satisfy two relations constitute a
congruency of lines; as, the entire system of lines, each
one of which meets two given surfaces, is a congruency.

Synonyms: analyzable, building complex, Byzantine, colonial, complicated, composite, composite, compound, convoluted, coordination compound, decomposable, gordian, interlacing, interlinking, interlocking, interwoven, intricate, involved, knotty, labyrinthian, labyrinthine, mazy, multifactorial, multiplex, tangled, thickening, tortuous

Antonyms: simple

See Also: chemical compound, college, compound, construction, difficult, Electra complex, feeling, hard, hybrid, hydrochloride, industrial plant, inferiority complex, Oedipal complex, Oedipus complex, plant, ribbon development, structure, syndrome, whole, works

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Famous Quotes Containing Complex:


The inferior complex is now extended to all Europe, save Nordics.

-- Emanuel Celler (American Politician)

I also think the relationship I have with my audience is a lot more complex than what Hitchcock seemed to want his to be - although I think he had more going on under the surface as well.

-- David Cronenberg (Canadian Director)

There have been times I almost got a persecution complex. I felt like people wouldn't let me grow up. They always saw me as a smiling kid or goofy teenager, no matter how much I'd changed.

-- Rick Schroder (American Actor)

A garden is a complex of aesthetic and plastic intentions; and the plant is, to a landscape artist, not only a plant - rare, unusual, ordinary or doomed to disappearance - but it is also a color, a shape, a volume or an arabesque in itself.

-- Roberto Burle Marx (Brazilian Environmentalist)

Each organism, no matter how simple or complex, has around it a sacred bubble of space, a bit of mobile territoriality which only a few other organisms are allowed to penetrate and then only for short periods of time.

-- Edward Hall (English Lawyer)

If it had remained always my band, my natural tendency would have been to get more complex and arrange things more and more. That wouldn't necessarily be good for Eddie, or anyone else in the band.

-- Stone Gossard (American Musician)

Despite what they tell you, there are simply no moral absolutes in a complex world.

-- Berkeley Breathed (American Cartoonist)

My songwriting and my style became more complex as I listened, learned, borrowed and stole and put my music together.

-- Boz Scaggs (American Musician)

The complex develops out of the simple.

-- Colin Wilson (English Writer)

I've had a tough time with Pynchon. I liked him very much when I first read him. I liked him less with each book. He got denser and more complex in a way that didn't really pay off.

-- Leslie Fiedler (American Critic)

It is clear to all that the animal organism is a highly complex system consisting of an almost infinite series of parts connected both with one another and, as a total complex, with the surrounding world, with which it is in a state of equilibrium.

-- Ivan Pavlov (Russian Psychologist)

It's a complex fate, being an American, and one of the responsibilities it entails is fighting against a superstitious valuation of Europe.

-- Henry James (American Writer)

The Architect is just one of a series of works which examine the confrontation of innocence and experience, illustrating the complex ethics of power that exist between reader and writer, critic and artist, the human and the divine.

-- John Scott ( -)

We are not a Zappa cover band. We only play Frank's songs that were recorded by the Mothers of Invention and I think a lot of those songs were complex.

-- Jimmy Carl Black (American Musician)

A self does not amount to much, but no self is an island; each exists in a fabric of relations that is now more complex and mobile than ever before.

-- Jean-Francois Lyotard ( Philosopher)

For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.

-- H. L. Mencken (American Writer)

Everyone in a complex system has a slightly different interpretation. The more interpretations we gather, the easier it becomes to gain a sense of the whole.

-- Margaret J. Wheatley (American Writer)

A more complex - but only slightly more original - way to feel out of it is available at the hip and pretentious nightclubs and bars along the Sunset Strip.

-- Merrill Markoe ( Author)

In debate, one randomly was assigned to one side or the other. This had at least one virtue - it made one see that there was more than one side to these complex issues.

-- Joseph E. Stiglitz (American Economist)

French is, in many ways, more difficult for an English-speaking person to sing. It is so full of complex and trying vowels. It requires the utmost subtlety.

-- Alma Gluck (American Musician)

I don't admire Freud as much as some people do. Imagine Shakespeare being aware of the Oedipal complex when he wrote Hamlet. It would have been a disaster.

-- Nathalie Sarraute (Russian Lawyer)

Music in itself carries a whole set of messages which are very, very rich and complex, and the words either serve to exclude certain ones or point up certain others.

-- Brian Eno (British Musician)

I've always tried to be conscious of how I represent women in my work. They don't have to be good or strong women, but they have to be complex.

-- Molly Parker (Canadian Actress)

I could have played more complex stuff. I could have been a busier player. But that's not what I wanted to do. I played what I wanted to play.

-- Don Henley (American Musician)

We were given clear concrete tools. The course did a great job demystifying the art of fiction writing and fostering confidence. The instructor brought complex concepts down to earth. I will miss coming here every week.

-- Miguel Ferrer (American Actor)

I enjoy working with complicated equipment. A lot of my things started just with a rhythm box, but I feed it through so many things that what comes out sounds very complex and rich.

-- Brian Eno (British Musician)

While it is true that Frank had a great sense of humor, he was also very serious about composing music. In reality there are only a handful of skilled players who can play his most complex pieces. It takes a lot of patience to learn and requires a fantastic memory.

-- Dweezil Zappa (American Musician)

Apparently, the most difficult feat for a Cambridge male is to accept a woman not merely as feeling, not merely as thinking, but as managing a complex, vital interweaving of both.

-- Sylvia Plath (American Poet)

People ask me if I left the lyrics open to ambiguity. Of course I did. I wanted to make a whole series of complex statements. The lyrics had to do with the state of society at the time.

-- Don McLean (American Musician)

Well, I probably, I guess first became aware of the whole, what I call the nuclear complex or weapons work those kinds of things, right out of law school.

-- Tom Udall (American Politician)

Over the past decade, prescribing information has grown more and more complex, more and more dense and more difficult to negotiate.

-- Andrew von Eschenbach ( -)

Basins of attraction, of self organization, show up as well in our complex social environment, in human organizations. Here again, while we cannot predict the result of any given input, we can say that it will likely fall within one of several areas.

-- Kevin Kelly (American Editor)

We may not imagine how our lives could be more frustrating and complex - but Congress can.

-- Cullen Hightower ( -)

It's still not easy to find roles that offer more complex images of women.

-- Susan Sarandon (American Actress)

Everybody has a world, and that world is completely hidden until we begin to inquire. As soon as we do, that entire world opens to us and yields itself. And you see how full and complex it is.

-- David Guterson (American Author)


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