Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to complain: complaint
Things are fine. A casual response to questions like "How are you?" or "How've you been?" A: "Hey, Pat, how are you?" B: "Ah, can't complain!"
complain about (someone or something)
To voice one's annoyance or displeasure with someone or something. Oh boy, which dead president is grandpa complaining about today? If you hate your job so much, quit complaining about it and look for a new one!
complain of (something)
To state the physical ailments or symptoms of illness that one is experiencing. The appendicitis patient came into the ER complaining of stomach pain.
complain to (someone or something)
To voice one's annoyance or displeasure to someone or something. If you hate your job so much, quit complaining to me about it and look for a new one! If we complain to the school board, I'm sure we can get this decision overturned.
for all (one's) (something)
In spite of the negative trait or issue the speaker is discussing. In this construction, the speaker indicates a specific person, followed by a problem or shortcoming they have experienced or exhibit. Yeah, she's not remotely punctual, and she gripes a lot, but for all her shortcomings, Elisa is a really great manager—her employees just love her. For all our difficulties buying a house, we still managed to get one that we absolutely love.
nothing to complain about
Things are fine. A casual response to questions like "How are you?" or "How've you been?" A: "Hey Pat, how are you?" B: "Ah, nothing to complain about."
you'd complain if you were hung with a new rope
Said humorously to emphasize that someone complains often, especially over seemingly minor or trivial things. A: "How are you liking the new PC?" B: "Yeah, it's OK, I guess. All the icons are different on the desktop, though." A: "Sheesh. You'd complain if you were hung with a new rope!"
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
complain about someone or something
to protest someone or something; to grouch about someone or something. Oh, stop complaining about the weather. You are always complaining about me.
complain of something
to moan and suffer from a disease; to report the symptoms of a disease or health condition. Kenneth complained of a headache and general weakness. The patient was complaining of a headache.
complain to someone
to grouch or protest to someone. Don't complain to me. I will complain to the manager.
(I) can't complain. and (I have) nothing to complain about.
Inf. a response to a greeting inquiry asking how one is or how things are going for one. Sue: How are things going? Mary: I can't complain. Mary: Hi, Fred! How are you doing? Fred: Nothing to complain about.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
Used as a response meaning fairly good or well, to questions such as "How are you?" or "How is business?" For example, How've you been?-Can't complain. This term means that nothing serious is wrong. [Mid-1800s]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Pretty good, in response to “How are things going?” This very modern-sounding phrase, which means one has nothing genuine to complain about (or at least will not admit it), comes from mid-nineteenth-century Britain. Eric Partridge cites an early example, R. S. Surtees’s Hawbuck Grange (1847), in which one character observes that time is passing lightly over another, who replies, “Middling—can’t complain.” Today it is a frequent response to inquiries about a business. See also fair to middling.
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer