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[kom-pluh-men-tar-i-tee] /ˌkɒm plə mɛnˈtær ɪ ti/
the quality or state of being complementary.
Origin of complementarity
First recorded in 1910-15; complementar(y) + -ity Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for complementarity
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • They are constitutive of non-linear forms of complementarity.

  • Harmony, or rather "complementarity," is revealed only in the mass, in tendencies rather than in states.

    Creative Evolution Henri Bergson
British Dictionary definitions for complementarity


noun (pl) -ties
a state or system that involves complementary components
(physics) the principle that the complete description of a phenomenon in microphysics requires the use of two distinct theories that are complementary to each other See also duality (sense 2)
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 complementarity

1908, a term in physics, from complementary + -ity.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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complementarity in Medicine

complementarity com·ple·men·tar·i·ty (kŏm'plə-měn-tār'ĭ-tē)

  1. The correspondence or similarity between nucleotides or strands of nucleotides of DNA and RNA molecules that allows precise pairing.

  2. The affinity that an antigen and an antibody have for each other as a result of the chemical arrangement of their combining sites.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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complementarity in Science
The concept that the underlying properties of entities (especially subatomic particles) may manifest themselves in contradictory forms at different times, depending on the conditions of observation; thus, any physical model of an entity exclusively in terms of one form or the other will be necessarily incomplete. For example, although a unified quantum mechanical understanding of such phenomena as light has been developed, light sometimes exhibits properties of waves and sometimes properties of particles (an example of wave-particle duality). See also uncertainty principle.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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