- a word or group of words that completes a grammatical construction in the predicate and that describes or is identified with the subject or object, as small in The house is small or president in They elected her president.Compare object complement, subject complement.
- any word or group of words used to complete a grammatical construction, especially in the predicate, including adverbials, as on the table in He put it on the table, infinitives, as to go in They are ready to go, and sometimes objects, as ball in He caught the ball.
- a system in vertebrate blood of 12 or more proteins that react in a cascade to a cell displaying immune complexes or foreign surfaces, acting in various combinations to coat the cell and promote phagocytosis, make holes in the cell wall, or enhance the inflammatory response.
- any of the proteins in the complement system, designated C1, C2, etc.
verb (used with object)
verb (used without object)
- compleat angler, the,
- complement binding assay,
- complement clause,
- complement fixation,
- complement fixation test,
- complement protein
Origin of complement
Examples from the Web for complement
They play an important role fighting next to the men because they complement one another.
To complement brain wiring, everyone walks around with retinal cams.
The ship is highly automated with a crew of just 142 -- compared to older ships that have a complement of about 300.Can the Navy's $12 Billion Stealth Destroyer Stay Afloat?|Dave Majumdar|October 22, 2014|DAILY BEAST
The mini-thons will be thematically organized to complement the new episode.A 200-Hour ‘Simpsons’ Marathon? That’s Unpossible!|Rich Goldstein|July 24, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Indeed, text and sound not only complement but enhance one another.Beguiling Books on Steroids Make Interactive Reading a Pleasure|Malcolm Jones|June 27, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Love, in the exclusive form, has jealousy for its complement; and jealousy brings on strife and division.History of American Socialisms|John Humphrey Noyes
All reservists are assigned to units structured to complement and provide needed depth to our active forces.
It is not less essential that the followers know each other and prepare themselves to complement each other.The Armed Forces Officer|U. S. Department of Defense
Only, up to a short while ago, she had been his complement; whereas now he appeared to be her complement.Mr. Prohack|E. Arnold Bennett
My overseer and another man were now added to the party, making up our complement in number.
- a noun phrase that follows a copula or similar verb, as for example an idiot in the sentence He is an idiot
- a clause that serves as the subject or direct object of a verb or the direct object of a preposition, as for example that he would be early in the sentence I hoped that he would be early
Word Origin for complement
late 14c., "that which completes," from Old French compliement "accomplishment, fulfillment" (14c., Modern French complément), from Latin complementum "that which fills up or completes," from complere "fill up" (see complete (adj.)). Originally also having senses which were taken up c.1650-1725 by compliment.
1610s, "exchange courtesies," from complement (n.). Meaning "make complete" is from 1640s. Related: Complemented; complementing.