1. An expression of pain, dissatisfaction, or resentment.
2. A cause or reason for complaining; a grievance: What is your complaint?
a. A bodily disorder or disease; a malady or ailment.
b. The symptom or distress about which a patient seeks medical assistance.
a. A formal statement initiating a lawsuit by specifying the facts and legal grounds for the relief sought.
b. A formal charge, made under oath, of the commission of a crime or other such offense.
[Middle English compleinte, from Old French complainte, from feminine past participle of complaindre, to complain; see COMPLAIN.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.