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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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for complacently
Contemporary Examples
  • Instead he complacently believed that because the Federal Reserve had defeated inflation, all was well with the economy.

Historical Examples
  • "Oh, we had her right the first time," Cassidy admitted, complacently.

    Within the Law Marvin Dana
  • "I try to be what's fitting," said Mrs. James, complacently.

  • “Well—neither am I,” said the man from Arkansas, complacently.

    Louisiana Lou William West Winter
  • He walked on complacently as far as the Houses of Parliament.

    Howards End E. M. Forster
  • "We were rather surprised ourselves," Yurt said complacently.

    Zen Jerome Bixby
  • "And I have much beaten him who took them," averred Aspinet complacently.

    Standish of Standish

    Jane G. Austin
  • "I don't know but she is, Abner," said the squire, complacently.

    The Young Miner Horatio Alger, Jr.
  • The bear sat upon his haunches and complacently regarded the Yankee.

    The Young Miner Horatio Alger, Jr.
  • "If I don't, it shall not be my fault," replied Paul, complacently.

    Little By Little William Taylor Adams
British Dictionary definitions for complacently


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 complacently



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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