Did Jeff Bezos invent a new word? ‘Complexifier’ explained

Credit: Emma McIntyre

Credit: Emma McIntyre

Jeff Bezos, Amazon mogul and owner of the Washington Post, recently wrote an online letter that has people scratching their heads -- not just for the allegations he levels in it, but for the use of a seemingly new word: “complexifier.”

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In the 2,100-word letter, posted Thursday to Medium, Bezos accuses the publisher of the National Enquirer of extortion, saying they threatened to publish his private photos and text messages. He also used the word "complexifier" not once, but twice.

Bezos wrote: “Here’s a piece of context: 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.”

He used the word again, a couple paragraphs later: “(Even though The Post is a complexifier for me, I do not at all regret my investment. …)”

The odd word had people tweeting.

“What were *you* doing when Jeff Bezos entered a new word into the English vocabulary?” tweeted Can “John” Duruk.

“I guess that’s why he’s not publishing this in his own newspaper? Or maybe because he doesn’t want his editors feeling obliged to vet his claims?” tweeted Corey Pein.

"I'm (sic) going to be using 'complexifier' at least 17 times tomorrow hope everyone at work is ready," tweeted Shareen Pathak.

As it turns out, complexifier is a word, just not an English word. It's French, The New York Times reported, and according to the online French dictionary, Larousse, it means "to make something more complex, more complicated."

Why Bezos chose to use a French word to say “made complicated” is … a complexifier.

Time will tell whether Merriam-Webster will add “complexifier” to the dictionary.

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