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complement

[ noun kom-pluh-muhnt; verb kom-pluh-ment ]
/ noun ˈkɒm plə mənt; verb ˈkɒm pləˌmɛnt /
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See synonyms for: complement / complemented / complementing / complements on Thesaurus.com

noun

verb (used with object)

to complete; form a complement to: This belt complements the dress better than that one.
Obsolete. to compliment.

verb (used without object)

Obsolete. to compliment.

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Origin of complement

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English, from Latin complēmentum “something that completes,” equivalent to complē(re) “to fill, fill up” + -mentum noun suffix; see origin at complete,-ment

synonym study for complement

12. Complement, supplement both mean to make additions to something. To complement is to provide something felt to be lacking or needed; it is often applied to putting together two things, each of which supplies what is lacking in the other, to make a complete whole: Two statements from different points of view may complement each other. To supplement is merely to add to: Some additional remarks may supplement his address.

words often confused with complement

Complement and compliment, which are pronounced alike and originally shared some meanings, have become separate words with entirely different meanings. As a noun, complement means “something that completes or makes perfect”: The rare old brandy was a perfect complement to the delicious meal. As a verb, complement means “to complete”: A bright scarf complements a dark suit. The noun compliment means “an expression of praise, commendation, or admiration”: The members paid her the compliment of a standing ovation. The verb compliment means “to pay a compliment to”: Everyone complimented him after the recital.

OTHER WORDS FROM complement

com·ple·ment·er, noun

WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH complement

1. complement , supplement (see synonym study at the current entry)2. complement , compliment (see confusables note at the current entry)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

Example sentences from the Web for complement

British Dictionary definitions for complement

complement

noun (ˈkɒmplɪmənt)

verb (ˈkɒmplɪˌmɛnt)

(tr) to add to, make complete, or form a complement to

Word Origin for complement

C14: from Latin complēmentum, from complēre to fill up, from com- (intensive) + plēre to fill

undefined complement

Avoid confusion with compliment
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

Medical definitions for complement

complement
[ kŏmplə-mənt ]

n.

A group of proteins found in normal blood serum and plasma that are activated sequentially in a cascadelike mechanism that allows them to combine with antibodies and destroy pathogenic bacteria and other foreign cells.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Scientific definitions for complement

complement
[ kŏmplə-mənt ]

A group of proteins in blood serum that interact systematically as part of the body's immune response to destroy disease-causing antigens, especially bacteria. Complement proteins interact with antibodies and other chemical substances to cause the disintegration of foreign cells and enhance other immune functions such as phagocytosis.
A complementary color.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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