8 Synonyms for Complex: Convoluted, Elaborate, Intricate, Complicated, Ornate…


The word “complex” in itself is an elevated English word, and one that can be used in many different ways, whether something is complicated, difficult to understand, or detailed. “Complex” can be a compliment or an observation, such as noting someone’s “mind is complex.”

However, there is a good variety of synonyms you can use as a substitute, depending on what you’re describing or what you feel most comfortable using. Look at the examples below, and start practicing these synonyms in everyday language today!


something that can be described as complicated or having many different parts

1. Complicated 

something having many different parts to understand

  • When learning something new, it can always seem complicated in the beginning.
  • For me, relationships are much more complicated to understand than physics.

2. Convoluted

something very complex or difficult to follow

  • The streets of Rome, Italy are convoluted, and difficult to navigate without a GPS.
  • In trying to solve my statistics problem, I ended up with a convoluted mess of numbers and symbols on my notes.

3. Elaborate

something that has a very complex design, or having many details to understand

  • The design of the human eye and its abilities is an elaborate marvel of the natural world.
  • The music the pianist composed, was simple, yet powerful and elaborate.

4. Involved 

something that can be described as complicated

  • The process of moving to the EU from a foreign country can be lengthy and involved.
  • Once I was accepted into med school, I realized the coming years would be challenging and involved.

5. Intricate

something with elaborate or complex detail

  • The painted ceiling of the famous cathedral is incredibly intricate in its artistic display.
  • A spider’s web is one of the most delicately intricate formations in the natural world.

6. Ornate 

something that has a complex construction or elaborate design

  • The architecture of the historic palace is lavish and ornate in its design.
  • Language and communication are beautifully ornate forms of art.

7. Perplexing 

something very confusing or puzzling

  • As a software developer, learning a new computer language is always perplexing the first few weeks before I become more comfortable and familiar with it.
  • It was perplexing the way my friend spoke to me, because she sounded upset, even though I don’t know what I did to offend her.

8. Puzzling 

something that is difficult to understand

  • The way language continues to evolve today with technology and instant communication is a puzzling, fast-paced movement.
  • It’s puzzling adapting to a new place and culture when moving to an unfamiliar place.

More for you:
4 Main Types of Sentence Structures
List of Sentence Connectors in English with Examples …

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