What is the difference between “complicated” and “complex”?

I can’t understand: what’s the difference between complicated and complex?

They seem to be used interchangeably. Are they actually different at all?


Complex is used to refer to the level of components in a system. If a problem is complex, it means that it has many components. Complexity does not evoke difficulty.

On the other hand, complicated refers to a high level of difficulty. If a problem is complicated, there might be or might not be many parts but it will certainly take a lot of hard work to solve.

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