There was salaciousness in “No Thank You, Mr. Pecker,” Jeff Bezos’s statement, published February 7 on Medium, addressed to the National Enquirer’s publisher; there were accusations of extortion and blackmail as well. But the word that incited the most chatter was complexifier, which Bezos used twice:
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.
President Trump is one of those people, obvious by his many tweets. Also, The Post’s essential and unrelenting coverage of the murder of its columnist Jamal Khashoggi is undoubtedly unpopular in certain circles.
(Even though The Post is a complexifier for me, I do not at all regret my investment. The Post is a critical institution with a critical mission. My stewardship of The Post and my support of its mission, which will remain unswerving, is something I will be most proud of when I’m 90 and reviewing my life, if I’m lucky enough to live that long, regardless of any complexities it creates for me.)
“It is a real word, just not in English,” wrote the New York Times’s Kevin Granville the following day. He added that it was a French word, which is true; but in French complexifier is a transitive verb, not a noun. It’s also true that complexifier does not (yet) appear in any standard English-language dictionaries, but read on.