[kuh m-pley-suh n-see]

noun, plural com·pla·cen·cies.

a feeling of quiet pleasure or security, often while unaware of some potential danger, defect, or the like; self-satisfaction or smug satisfaction with an existing situation, condition, etc.
  1. friendly civility; inclination to please; complaisance.
  2. a civil act.

Also com·pla·cence [kuh m-pley-suh ns] /kəmˈpleɪ səns/.

Origin of complacency

From the Medieval Latin word complacentia, dating back to 1635–45. See complacent, -cy
Related formsnon·com·pla·cence, nounnon·com·pla·cen·cy, noun, plural non·com·pla·cen·cies.o·ver·com·pla·cence, nouno·ver·com·pla·cen·cy, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for complacency

satisfaction, smugness

Examples from the Web for complacency

Contemporary Examples of complacency

Historical Examples of complacency

  • "It's a shame," she said, with a marked effort to subdue her own complacency.

    Miss Pat at School

    Pemberton Ginther

  • He might well think with some complacency of the influence he had exerted on the world.

  • Even as it was, I felt a slight degree of complacency at the circumstance.

    My Bondage and My Freedom

    Frederick Douglass

  • Calmer thoughts succeeded this little flicker of complacency.

    The Girl on the Boat

    Pelham Grenville Wodehouse

  • Mr. Burton Henderson accepted his wife's amendment with complacency.

    The Lovely Lady

    Mary Austin

British Dictionary definitions for complacency



noun plural -cencies or -cences

a feeling of satisfaction, esp extreme self-satisfaction; smugness
an obsolete word for complaisance
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

Word Origin and History for complacency

1640s, from same source as complacence but with the later form of the suffix (see -cy).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper