A ramification is an accidental consequence that complicates things. Remember that time you borrowed your father's car without asking? The ramification was that Dad missed an important meeting, his company went under, and he had to sell the car. Oops!

The ramifications are the broader effects that fan out into the world from one situation, or decision, that kicks it all off. Ramification also refers to something branching out, like limbs on a tree — which is what bad decisions tend to do. Ramification is like consequence, but usually unintended and bad. The word is often used in political discussions about laws or government decisions because they might be made locally but could affect people worldwide.

Definitions of ramification
  1. noun
    a development that complicates a situation
    “the court's decision had many unforeseen ramifications
    synonyms: complication
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    type of:
    a recent event that has some relevance for the present situation
  2. noun
    the act of branching out or dividing into branches
    synonyms: branching, fork, forking
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    the act of splitting into two branches
    the act of splitting into three branches
    branching at a wide angle
    act or process of forming fibrils
    type of:
    the act or process of dividing
  3. noun
    a part of a forked or branching shape
    synonyms: branch, leg
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    a bifurcating branch (one or both of them)
    (biology) a branching or armlike part of an animal
    crotch, fork
    the region of the angle formed by the junction of two branches
    type of:
    a figure that is a part of another figure
  4. noun
    an arrangement of branching parts
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    type of:
    arrangement, placement
    the spatial property of the way in which something is placed
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