• synonyms


  1. pleased, especially with oneself or one's merits, advantages, situation, etc., often without awareness of some potential danger or defect; self-satisfied: The voters are too complacent to change the government.
  2. pleasant; complaisant.
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Origin of complacent

1650–60; < Latin complacent- (stem of complacēns, present participle of complacēre to take the fancy of, please, equivalent to com- com- + placēre to please
Related formscom·pla·cent·ly, adverbnon·com·pla·cent, adjectivenon·com·pla·cent·ly, adverbo·ver·com·pla·cent, adjectiveo·ver·com·pla·cent·ly, adverbun·com·pla·cent, adjectiveun·com·pla·cent·ly, adverb
Can be confusedcomplacent complaisant compliant


Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for complacently

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • "Oh, we had her right the first time," Cassidy admitted, complacently.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • "I try to be what's fitting," said Mrs. James, complacently.

  • “Well—neither am I,” said the man from Arkansas, complacently.

    Louisiana Lou

    William West Winter

  • He walked on complacently as far as the Houses of Parliament.

    Howards End

    E. M. Forster

  • "We were rather surprised ourselves," Yurt said complacently.


    Jerome Bixby

British Dictionary definitions for complacently


  1. pleased or satisfied, esp extremely self-satisfied
  2. an obsolete word for complaisant
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Derived Formscomplacently, adverb

Word Origin

C17: from Latin complacēns very pleasing, from complacēre to be most agreeable to, from com- (intensive) + placēre to please
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 complacently



1650s, "pleasing," from Latin complacentem (nominative complacens) "pleasing," present participle of complacere "be very pleasing" (see complacence). Meaning "pleased with oneself" is from 1767. Related: Complacently.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper