Let's say I have a very simple object, like a LEGO car (my cars were always pretty basic) and I remake it into a very complex object, like the Batmobile, what would be an appropriate term for this?

I thought of transform, but that seems like it can go two ways and I'm specifically looking for the simple to complex route.

What I by mean by complex is not necessarily overly complex for no good reason. I actually need the functionality of the much improved product.

  • The usual terms for this are assemble, build, construct though we usually underestimate the power of those words.
    – Kris
    Commented Jul 22, 2014 at 11:39

4 Answers 4


Overcomplicate and convolute are fine but they have slight negative connotations. If you're looking for more neutral words, from Oxford dictionary, and don't want to use to complexify (which is exactly the word that fits your definition) for some reason :

To sophisticate

(transitive) to make more complex or refined

or also

To refine

To make or become free from coarse characteristics;

Make or become elegant or polished (intransitive; often followed by on or upon)

to improve (upon) by making subtle or fine distinctions

Other synonyms at these entries could work depending on the context, such as to fine-tune (a concept), to complexify, to improve, to perfect, to polish, to modernize, to upgrade...

  • Those will do nicely, thanks! Now to pick one of those..
    – Davio
    Commented Jul 22, 2014 at 12:00
  • You could write the sentence or tell the context, we could help you pick.
    – P. O.
    Commented Jul 22, 2014 at 12:03
  • The context is computer programming. If I'm working with complex objects (through APIs for instance), I like to make simple translations of them and let a special class convert them into their complex counterparts. I was looking for a good name for my conversion class to specify its intent.
    – Davio
    Commented Jul 22, 2014 at 12:05
  • in that case,if the more complex objects are a the original version of the simpler one I'd suggest "Expand": to enlarge or expatiate on (a story, topic, etc) in detail; to express (a function or expression) as the sum or product of terms. Expanded conversion, Expand class vs abridged or condensed class
    – P. O.
    Commented Jul 22, 2014 at 12:15

You could consider the straightforward "overcomplicate" or more poetic (and less common) "convolute", which retains some of the thrust of your "transform".

  • Well, those terms imply making it overly complex for no reason, I'm trying to make it more complex for a very good reason.
    – Davio
    Commented Jul 22, 2014 at 11:35
  • 1
    Ah, I misunderstood your question. Making something "complex" usually carries a pejorative tone. You might want to edit your question. With that said, English is rich with words which mean to improve (including, literally, "improve"), such as "enhance", or, in the specific case of a technical effort like Lego cars, "upgrade". Or even "pimp the ride" :)
    – Dan Bron
    Commented Jul 22, 2014 at 11:37
  • @DanBron enhance or upgrade is more apt than the chosen sophisticate or refine. You should supplement your answer. Both of the latter might be achieved with simplification rather than complication.
    – bib
    Commented Jul 22, 2014 at 16:14

If you're talking about legitimate improvement, "evolve" might be what you want.  If you like the biology theme but don't like "evolve", consider "grow" or "mature".   "Enhance" is commonly used to describe adding features to software or other technological products.   Or "enrich" or simply "develop".


Rue Goldberg equation is what this is called.

  • 4
    No, a Rube Goldberg machine (invented, of course, by W. Heath Robinson) is intended to be absurdly convoluted and inefficient (if not totally impractical). Commented Aug 27, 2014 at 22:07

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