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from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. An expression of pain, dissatisfaction, or resentment.
  • n. A cause or reason for complaining; a grievance.
  • n. A bodily disorder or disease; a malady or ailment.
  • n. The symptom or distress about which a patient seeks medical assistance.
  • n. Law The presentation by the plaintiff in a civil action, setting forth the claim on which relief is sought.
  • n. Law A formal charge, made under oath, of the commission of a crime or other such offense.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A grievance, problem, difficulty, or concern; the act of complaining.
  • n. In a civil action, the first pleading of the plaintiff setting out the facts on which the claim is based; The purpose is to give notice to the adversary of the nature and basis of the claim asserted.
  • n. In criminal law, the preliminary charge or accusation made by one person against another to the appropriate court or officer, usually a magistrate. However, court proceedings, such as a trial, cannot be instituted until an indictment or information has been handed down against the defendant.
  • n. A consumer complaint.
  • n. A bodily disorder or disease; the symptom of such a disorder.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Expression of grief, regret, pain, censure, or resentment; lamentation; murmuring; accusation; fault-finding.
  • n. Cause or subject of complaint or murmuring.
  • n. An ailment or disease of the body.
  • n. A formal allegation or charge against a party made or presented to the appropriate court or officer, as for a wrong done or a crime committed (in the latter case, generally under oath); an information; accusation; the initial bill in proceedings in equity.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. An expression of grief, regret, pain, censure, resentment, or discontent; lamentation; faultfinding; murmuring.
  • n. That which is complained of; a cause of grief, discontent, lamentation, etc.
  • n. A cause of bodily pain or uneasiness; a malady; a disease; an ailment: usually applied to disorders not violent.
  • n. A formal accusation; a charge that an offense has been committed; especially, such a charge presented to an officer or a court for the purpose of instituting prosecution.
  • n. In many of the United States, the pleading in which the plaintiff in a civil action formally sets forth the facts of his case, with his claim for relief thereon: corresponding to the declaration at common law, the bill in equity, and the libel in admiralty.
  • n. A poem bewailing ill fortune in matters of love; a plaint.
  • n. Synonyms Lament.
  • n. Ailment, disorder, distemper, illness.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. an often persistent bodily disorder or disease; a cause for complaining
  • n. (criminal law) a pleading describing some wrong or offense
  • n. (civil law) the first pleading of the plaintiff setting out the facts on which the claim for relief is based
  • n. (formerly) a loud cry (or repeated cries) of pain or rage or sorrow
  • n. an expression of grievance or resentment


Middle English compleinte, from Old French complainte, from feminine past participle of complaindre, to complain; see complain.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English compleynte, from Anglo-Norman compleint, from compleindre. (Wiktionary)



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