Quick Summary

The Latin root word plex means “weave.” This Latin root is the word origin of a good number of English vocabulary words, including complexity, perplexed, and googolplex. The Latin root word plex is easily recalled through the word duplex, for a “duplex” is a single building in which two living spaces have been “woven” together.


The Latin root word plex means “weave.” Although you may have found this root to be perplexing in the past, hopefully by the end of this podcast no complexity will remain.

When weavers “weave,” they skillfully twist fibers together, thereby “entwining” them to make various kinds of cloth or fabric. The root word plex pertains to this entwining, twisting together, or “weaving” of threads so that they become purposefully entangled. Something complex, or “woven” with other things, can be hard to understand because there are so many things to deal with, such as a complex math problem in which there are many aspects to consider. Its complexity therefore may be daunting, or in such a condition of being “woven” with so many other things that’s it’s really a puzzler. Speaking of mathematics, a complex number is a “weaving” together of both real and imaginary numbers, whereas a complex variable is a variable that stands for any given complex number. A complex fraction is a “weaving” together of a fraction and another fraction in the complex fraction’s numerator and/or denominator … now that’s complex! Not to be outdone by math, English has its very own compound-complex sentence, which is a “weaving” together of at least two independent clauses with at least one dependent clause. Is your head beginning to spin as well?

Could all of the above complexity cause one’s complexion, or the features that are “woven” into one’s face, to redden? I guess it depends upon the complexity of the problems involved.

It’s one thing for a math problem to be complex, but another thing if it is perplexing, in which case one’s mind is so thoroughly “woven” with so many difficult things that it becomes confused. If math problems perplex you, or cause your mind to be thoroughly “woven” in difficulty, it might be best to try to deal with those compound-complex sentences instead. Or, better yet, to simply take a break and go to the local multiplex theater, in which many different screens are “woven” into one big building so that multiple movies can play at one time. After letting your mind rest for a while, perhaps you can then return to your duplex, or two residences “woven” into one, and tackle math’s biggest named number, the googolplex, which is a googol (one followed by one-hundred zeroes) “woven” into a googol, that is, the number one followed by a googol of zeroes. Now that’s some heavy duty and never-ending “weaving”!

We have now “woven” into this podcast plenty of examples of plex that should at least lessen their complexity, hopefully clearing up any lingering perplexity!

  1. complex: “woven” together
  2. complexity: state of being “woven” together
  3. complexion: set of skin features “woven” into one’s facial appearance
  4. perplexing: thoroughly “woven” in confusion
  5. perplex: to thoroughly “weave”
  6. multiplex: many theater screens “woven” into one theater
  7. duplex: two residences “woven” into one building
  8. googolplex: a googol of zeroes “woven” into a number


  • perplexed

    When you are perplexed about something, you are completely confused or baffled by it.

  • complex

    If something is complex, it is difficult to understand or solve because it is not simple at all.

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