The negress feels the compliment, rather 299 despises the complimenter, but likes it on the whole—and comes again.
"An act, or expression of civility, usually understood to include some hypocrisy, and to mean less than it declares" [Johnson], 1570s, complement, via French compliment (17c.), from Italian complimento "expression of respect and civility," from Vulgar Latin *complire, for Latin complere "to complete" (see complete (adj.)), via notion of "complete the obligations of politeness." Same word as complement but by a different etymological route; differentiated by spelling after 1650.
1610s, from French complimenter, from compliment (see compliment (n.)). Related: Complimented; complimenting.