There are subtle differences between complex and complicated. As far as I can tell, though, they both merge into one noun form: complexity.

Merriam-Webster has an entry for complicatedness, but that sounds outright contrived.

Are there any better words for this?

  • 3
    Another noun form is "complication".
    – MetaEd
    Nov 22, 2011 at 23:29
  • 1
    There's also "complexification", this is used mainly by mathematicians, but it also appears occasionally (and arguably mistakenly) in the real world. Nov 22, 2011 at 23:49
  • Are you asking for words based off of complex and complicated, or just synonyms?
    – user11550
    Nov 22, 2011 at 23:54
  • @Mahnax Words based on complex and complicated, preferably.
    – Maxpm
    Nov 22, 2011 at 23:55
  • Why was I downvoted? I feel the question is pretty clear.
    – Maxpm
    Nov 23, 2011 at 2:55

4 Answers 4


You could use intricacy (a measure of how intricate something is). Or even convolution, depending on the context. It would appear that the only other words based off of complex and complicated are complexification (which may or may not be a word), and complication.


While complex is not a usually noun it can be a noun in special usage (e.g., Oedipus Complex). It's mainly an adjective. The common noun is complexity and for complicated the common noun is complication. However a major poet, Wallace Stevens, uses complicate as noun ("the complicate" in "Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction," part three, section VI), indicating the flexibility of English to go beyond convention.

  • All residents in my apartment complex and all workers in my office complex disagree.
    – Davo
    Jun 13, 2019 at 18:01

First of all, complex is not a noun. It is an adjective. The noun is complexity and for complicated the noun in complication.

  • 1
    Complication is not usually just the nominal counterpart to adjectival complicated. Its basic meaning is “a circumstance that complicates something; a difficulty” (ODO), rather than just “the state of being complicated”. Oct 6, 2014 at 21:09
  • 1
    (1) First of all, complex is a noun in some contexts. (2) The question isn't suggesting that complex is a noun. It is saying "complex and complicated are adjectives that are similar but not interchangeable. The word complexity clearly represents the state or quality of being complex. Is there a distinct noun corresponding to complicated, or do you use complexity for it, too?" (3) +1 What Janus said. Oct 6, 2014 at 22:07

"Complex" can be used as a noun. From Dictionary.com:

"noun. an intricate or complicated association or assemblage of related things, parts, units, etc.: the entire complex of our educational system; an apartment complex."

As an adjective, "complex" is synonymous with "intricate."

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