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[kom-plin, -plahyn] /ˈkɒm plɪn, -plaɪn/
noun, Ecclesiastical.
the last of the seven canonical hours, or the service for it, originally occurring after the evening meal but now usually following immediately upon vespers.
Also, complin
[kom-plin] /ˈkɒm plɪn/ (Show IPA)
Origin of compline
1175-1225; Middle English comp(e)lin, equivalent to compli, cump(e)lie (< Old French complie, cumplie < Latin complēta (hōra) complete (hour) + -in (of matin) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for compline
Historical Examples
  • Then followed compline, and then the monks were ready for bed, and retired to the dortor.

    English Villages P. H. Ditchfield
  • "It is eight o'clock, and I must be back to compline," he said.

    The Christian Hall Caine
  • But the bell rang for compline, and the brothers passed into church.

    The Christian Hall Caine
  • As for compline, it resounds when night, the symbol of death, has come.

    En Route

    J.-K. (Joris-Karl) Huysmans
  • Songs of thanksgiving were uplifted that night at compline in the choir.

    Border Ghost Stories Howard Pease
  • The company then withdrew for compline, and as they ended the xci.

    Hugh, Bishop of Lincoln

    Charles L. Marson
  • He has been with me a week, and every day we have had matins, compline, and evensong.

    Mrs. Darrell Foxcroft Davis
  • It is my fault, my own fault, my own great fault, as we say in the compline confession.

    At Large Arthur Christopher Benson
  • In 1263, it was ordered that Vespers and compline should be said together.

    Medival London William Benham
  • Many stay away from compline and from matins and they drink after compline.

British Dictionary definitions for compline


/ˈkɒmplɪn; -plaɪn/
(RC Church) the last of the seven canonical hours of the divine office
Word Origin
C13: from Old French complie, from Medieval Latin hōra complēta, literally: the completed hour, from Latin complēre to fill up, complete
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 compline

the last canonical service of the day, early 13c., cumplie, compelin, from Old French complie (12c.), from Latin completa (hora), from completus (see complete (adj.)); with unexplained -n-.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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