Try Our Apps
Dictionary.com

follow Dictionary.com

2017 Word of the Year

complementary distribution

noun, Linguistics.
1.
a relation such that the members of a pair or set of phones, morphs, or other linguistic units have no environment in common, as aspirated “p” and unaspirated “p” in English, the first occurring only in positions where the second does not.
Also called complementation.
Compare free variation.
Origin of complementary distribution
1930-1935
First recorded in 1930-35
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for complementary distribution

Word Value for complementary

24
29
Scrabble Words With Friends