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[kuh m-pley-suh nt] /kəmˈpleɪ sənt/
pleased, especially with oneself or one's merits, advantages, situation, etc., often without awareness of some potential danger or defect; self-satisfied:
The voters are too complacent to change the government.
pleasant; complaisant.
Origin of complacent
1650-60; < Latin complacent- (stem of complacēns, present participle of complacēre to take the fancy of, please, equivalent to com- com- + placēre to please
Related forms
complacently, adverb
noncomplacent, adjective
noncomplacently, adverb
overcomplacent, adjective
overcomplacently, adverb
uncomplacent, adjective
uncomplacently, adverb
Can be confused
complacent, complaisant, compliant.
1. smug, unbothered, untroubled. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for complacent
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • If she, Madame Lorilleux, had acted like that, Coupeau wouldn't be so complacent.

    L'Assommoir Emile Zola
  • And well might he be amazed at the spectacle which the complacent Bones had secured for him.

    Bones Edgar Wallace
  • We clung to each other only the more closely, and, wrapped in our own happiness, viewed others' misfortunes with complacent pity.

    The Virginians William Makepeace Thackeray
  • The outlaw had the complacent manner of a cat which has just got at the cream.

    Brand Blotters William MacLeod Raine
  • Carlo Ammiani had corrected Corte's manner to him by a complacent readiness to give him distinct replies.

    Vittoria, Complete George Meredith
British Dictionary definitions for complacent


pleased or satisfied, esp extremely self-satisfied
an obsolete word for complaisant
Derived Forms
complacently, adverb
Word Origin
C17: from Latin complacēns very pleasing, from complacēre to be most agreeable to, from com- (intensive) + placēre to please
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for complacent

1650s, "pleasing," from Latin complacentem (nominative complacens) "pleasing," present participle of complacere "be very pleasing" (see complacence). Meaning "pleased with oneself" is from 1767. Related: Complacently.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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