Jeff Bezos’ use of ‘complexifier’ has people scratching their heads


Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has the internet talking for a few reasons: blackmail threats, nude photos, the word “complexifier.”

Image: Getty Images for WIRED25

In case you missed it, Jeff Bezos called the National Enquirer’s bluff by posting their attempts to blackmail him on the internet.

Published on Thursday, the Amazon CEO’s Medium post contained plenty of lurid detail about the intimate photos the newspaper was threatening to release if he did not comply with their demands.

Amid the revelations was Bezos’ admission that his ownership of the Washington Post had posed some problems for him, or as he put it in his post (emphasis ours):

“My ownership of the Washington Post is a complexifier for me. It’s unavoidable that certain powerful people who experience Washington Post news coverage will wrongly conclude I am their enemy.”

Call us nitpickers, but “complexifier” doesn’t appear to be a word in the English language, but it sure got the attention of people online. 

“Complexifier,” however, does appear to exist in French. 

Predictably, the definition of the word according to French dictionary Larousse is to “make something more complex, more complicated.” A direct translation in English would be “complicating.”

According to Google Books, the word has been in English books since 1953, although its frequency is a fraction of a percent. 

You could say the word is quite the, ahem, complexifier.

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