Meaning of complain in English:


Pronunciation /kəmˈpleɪn/

See synonyms for complain

Translate complain into Spanish


  • 1reporting verb Express dissatisfaction or annoyance about something.

    with clause ‘local authorities complained that they lacked sufficient resources’
    • ‘‘You never listen to me,’ Larry complained’
    • ‘we all complained bitterly about the food’
    • ‘She said local people had complained bitterly about the lack of notice for the plan to extend the deadline by a year.’
    • ‘Mrs Owen complained to an attendant but was dissatisfied with the response.’
    • ‘He complained to the local authority about the noises and smells from his neighbour's farm.’
    • ‘The pensioner complained to the President about a lack of plumbing in her village.’
    • ‘Part of this comes from her old-fashioned view that one does not complain about such annoyances.’
    • ‘Indeed, graduates have complained bitterly about a lack of school identity and diversity.’
    • ‘A rail passenger travelling from Montreal to New York City complained to the guard that his seat was lumpy.’
    • ‘This lawlessness had led locals to hold protest marches and complain about the lack of action by police.’
    • ‘The young have complained to me that the trouble with our leadership is that when they explain, it insults their intelligence.’
    • ‘Approaching my last year and a half, I was given bad dates to register until I finally got really fed up and complained to the dean.’
    • ‘Critics have also complained bitterly that the board failed to release financial records despite promises to do so.’
    • ‘People always complain about the lack of explanation.’
    • ‘Still, he is not complaining too loudly.’
    • ‘McClelland put air conditioning in a local church, and the pastor never complained about the noise again.’
    • ‘In the late 1970s, even critics complained about the shortage of actresses in major roles.’
    • ‘Customers have been complaining for years about the broken, ailing equipment and leisure officials are pleading for more visitors.’
    • ‘I imagine the police coming when a neighbor complains about the smell from the drains.’
    • ‘In Mumbai restaurants, customers were complaining about the quality of onions they were being served.’
    • ‘Authors complain loud enough when their publishers don't do it.’
    • ‘If I were a cyclist, I'd be complaining to the local council.’
    protest, grumble, moan, whine, bleat, carp, cavil, lodge a complaint, make a complaint, make a fuss
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  • 2complain ofno object State that one is suffering from (a pain or other symptom of illness)

    ‘her husband began to complain of headaches’
    • ‘She suffered a cut to her ankle and also complained of a whiplash-like pain.’
    • ‘So, when a child complains of back pain, one has to act fast and go for a thorough investigation.’
    • ‘With no real operation having taken place, the patient does not feel any pain, complains of no scars, and can walk home immediately afterwards.’
    • ‘A week after the wedding the bride's mother complains of pains in her stomach.’
    • ‘A patient who complains of recurrent back pain is evaluated to rule out a definitive cause.’
    • ‘When one of the rescue party complains of chest pains, the Air Corps lift him from one of the boats.’
    • ‘My parents seemed to be fully awake and were not complaining of any aches and pains, to my surprise.’
    • ‘He was re-admitted to hospital the following month after complaining of severe pain in his leg.’
    • ‘He first visited his doctor in April 2001 complaining of a pain in his knee.’
    • ‘He was taken to Bury General Hospital complaining of severe chest pains, but later died.’
    • ‘The children who reported back pain also complained of abdominal pain, headaches and sore throats.’
    • ‘He complained of chest pain and was rushed to the hospital with an oxygen mask.’
    • ‘When I consider it, I can't think of the last time someone complained of illness in front of me.’
    • ‘He was later released, but over the next couple of days wasn't himself and complained of chest pains.’
    • ‘But he often complained of aches and pains and did look like he was slowing down.’
    • ‘She had complained of severe abdominal pain and he carried out an examination with her consent.’
    • ‘He complained of pain in his arm and it was only then doctors realised both of them had broken left arms.’
    • ‘He just complained of chest pains and the lifeguard suggested we take him to hospital.’
    • ‘She said she asked for an eye test and agreed to allow him to look at her back after she complained of back pain.’
    • ‘When the carers who come in every morning tried to get him to sit up, he complained of pain in his back.’
  • 3no object (of a structure or mechanism) groan or creak under strain.

    ‘I yelled while the muscles on my body were complaining with great strain.’
    • ‘As if to torment them further, the steps creaked, complaining with each step they made loud enough to wake the dead.’
    • ‘After two years of being asked to do nothing more than growl and yip, my voice-box complained at the strain of speech.’
    • ‘There, I sat and waited, the room gently spinning, my sinuses groaning, my throat complaining, my heart beating at mousepace.’
    squeak, groan, grate
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    1. 3.1 literary Make a mournful sound.
      • ‘let the warbling flute complain’


Late Middle English from Old French complaindre, from medieval Latin complangere ‘bewail’, from Latin com- (expressing intensive force) + plangere ‘to lament’.