For all your dictionary needs!
Spelling. Are you looking for complin?
Header of complain


Video footage: COMPLAIN keyboard key animation
Play/pauseBuy footageFind more

Definition of the verb complain

What does complain mean as a doing word?

Complain is one of the top 1000 most common verbs in the English language.

verb - inflections: complained | complaining | complains

  1. express complaints, discontent, displeasure, or unhappiness
    • examples: My mother complains all day | They complain that there was a traffic accident
    • syntax:
      Syntactic formulaExample for the syntactic formula
      [Agent - being or organization] [Verb]Susan complained
      [Agent - being or organization] [Verb] [Topic, quotation]Ellen complained, 'The mail didn't come today.'
      [Agent - being or organization] [Verb] [Topic, that-complement clause]Susan complained that the party would be tonight
      [Agent - being or organization] [Verb] about [Topic]Ellen complained about the situation
      [Agent - being or organization] [Verb] about [Topic] to [Recipient]Ellen complained about the situation to Helen
      [Agent - being or organization] [Verb] to [Recipient]Susan complained to Rachel
      [Agent - being or organization] [Verb] to [Recipient] [Topic, quotation]Ellen complained to Helen, 'The mail didn't come today.'
      [Agent - being or organization] [Verb] to [Recipient] [Topic, that-complement clause]Susan complained to Rachel that the party would be tonight
      [Agent - being or organization] [Verb] to [Recipient] about [Topic]The prime minister complained to the former president about U.S. interference in his country's affairs

      Verbs of Communication (with the same syntax): bellyache, bitch, boast, brag, crab, gripe, grouch, grouse, grumble, kvetch, moan, object, whine.

    • lexical domain: Communication - verbs of telling, asking, ordering, singing
    • synonyms of complain: kick / kvetch / plain / quetch / sound off
    • antonym of complain: cheer
    • more specific words:
  2. make a formal accusation; bring a formal charge
    • example: The plaintiff's lawyer complained that he defendant had physically abused his client
    • lexical domain: Communication - verbs of telling, asking, ordering, singing
    • more generic word: charge = make an accusatory claim


Complain is a cataloged instance, musical recording, canonical version.

Printed dictionaries and other books with definitions for Complain

Click on a title to look inside that book (if available):

Google previewThe Proceedings of the Bimetallic Conference Held at Manchester, 4th and 5th April, 1888 (1888)

by Bimetallic League (Great Britain)

The things measured have indeed increased ; and the fall of price of which you complain is the legitimate and natural, and beneficial consequence of increase of production and facility of communication, which things are an unalloyed benefit ...

Google previewThe Bankers' Magazine, and Journal of the Money Market (1888)

The things measured have indee increased, and the and 1 prices 0 which you complain is the legitimate and natural and beaches consequence of increase of production and facility of communication, the“ things are an unalloyed benefit to all ...

Google previewThe Church of England quarterly review (1838)

The second grievance of which Ireland has to complain is the administration of justice. Yes, the administration of justice.

Google previewStudent’s Dictionary of Synonyms and Antonyms (2014)

by Martin H Manser

COMPLAIN verb to make negative comments about something or someone: They complained to the manager about the food in the restaurant. bellyache (informal) to complain in a badtempered way: Jim is bellyaching about having to do the ...

Google previewPansegrouw's Crossword Dictionary (1994)

by Louisa Pansegrouw

compare carefully 149 complain repeatedly compare carefully collate compare costs price compare critically collate compared with vis-a-vis compare in detail collate comparison agreement, alliance, analogy, apposition, association, ...

Online dictionaries and encyclopedias with entries for Complain

Click on a label to prioritize search results according to that topic:

Usage statistics about complain

The following statistics are based on the British National Corpus, so they are representative for the British English from the later part of the 20th century, both spoken and written.

Distribution of usage frequency for the most common synonyms of the verb complain:


Comparison of usage frequency between the verb complain and its most common antonym:


Photos about Complain

Click on an item to view that photo:


If you need related images for an article or a report, you can download stock photos:
Small photo of asian doctor talk with nurse about patient information and order medicine to treatment, male doctor angry and complain female health workerSmall photo of Red seal complain stamped on a complaint form and fountain pen. Macro shot. Soft focus.Small photo of Business people seriously showing thumbs down sign for businesswoman ,discussing and argue complain project during their meeting at the office. Business and finance disappointment failure conceptSmall photo of Two engineer or businessman Boss complain the Mistake to anotherSmall photo of Signpost outside is showing Complain or Do Better in german languageSmall photo of Young woman relaxes at work. She looks at the purchases. This is a business office. Leaders complain about it.Small photo of Football hooligans in game. Angry soccer fans shouting and booing in the crowd. Losing team fans got mad. Furious silhouette people complain and protest a mistake made by referee. More...

Video language resources about Complain

Click on an item to play that video:

See also the pronunciation examples of Complain!

Quotes about Complain

Till people find themselves greatly abused and oppressed by their governors, they are not apt to complain; and whenever they do, in fact, find themselves thus abused and oppressed, they must be stupid not to complain. (Jonathan Mayhew)
more quotes about complain...

Scrabble value of C3O1M3P3L1A1I1N1

The value of this 8-letter word is 14 points. It is included in the first and second editions of the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary.

Couldn't select: Got error 28 from storage engine