OTHER WORDS FROM complementarycom·ple·men·ta·ri·ness, nounun·com·ple·men·ta·ry, adjective
Words nearby complementary
COMPLEMENTARY VS. COMPLIMENTARY
What’s the difference between complementary and complimentary?
Complementary is an adjective used to describe something that complements something else—goes along with it and serves to make it better or complete it (as in complementary colors). Complimentary is an adjective that can describe something intended to be a compliment—a comment that expresses praise or admiration of someone (as in a complimentary remark). It can also be used to mean that something is given for free, as in I hope we get complimentary snacks on this flight.
Since the primary senses of both words are generally used in positive contexts, it can be easy to confuse them.
The easiest way to remember the difference is that complementary often involves something that completes something else, and complete also starts with c-o-m-p-l-e. On the other hand, you can remember that complimentary is spelled with an i because compliments are something that I like to get (and give). Nice shirt, by the way.
Here’s an example of complementary and complimentary used correctly in the same sentence.
Example: Sometimes, when the chef overhears complimentary feedback about a dish, she sends out a complimentary bottle of wine—one that’s complementary to the rest of the meal, of course.
Want to learn more? Read about the difference between compliment and complement.
Quiz yourself on complementary vs. complimentary!
Should complementary or complimentary be used in the following sentence?
My comment was meant to be _____—I really do like your shoes!
How to use complementary in a sentence
Previous studies of endosymbiosis have shown that there can be complementary gene losses between hosts and endosymbionts, creating a metabolic interdependence.How Two Became One: Origins of a Mysterious Symbiosis Found|Viviane Callier|September 9, 2020|Quanta Magazine
The algorithms behind social media giants are designed to funnel viewers through a vortex of complementary interests — basically, to keep feeding them content they like in order to maintain interest and engagement.
In an increasingly complex and interdependent world, much more can be accomplished by working with partners who have different, yet complementary, skills.COVID-19 has spurred rapid transformation in health care. Let’s make sure it stays that way|jakemeth|August 20, 2020|Fortune
Grocery advertisers should adopt an “always-on” strategy by cross-promoting products on both similar and complementary keywords.How to prepare your e-commerce ad strategy for an uncertain Q4|Sponsored Content: Pacvue|August 17, 2020|Search Engine Land
To Eric von Hippel’s point about the complementary relationship between home innovators and firms, Dana Lewis and her co-inventors have licensed their algorithm to healthcare companies to use in their devices.
To an extent, such ambitions are complementary, yet Liana is not interested in “extreme biography.”
He added that “the method is not a better method, but complementary to other methods.”It’s Official: Religion Doesn’t Make You More Moral|Elizabeth Picciuto|September 23, 2014|DAILY BEAST
If galaxy mapping is like doing a population map, the complementary study is like a demographic survey.
According to Sig Gissler, who administered the awards, the two series of stories “were complementary.”Guardian and WaPo Share Pulitzer: Snowden Hails Victory for “More Accountable Democracy”|David Freedlander|April 14, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Between them, the four of them being so complementary, they managed to appeal to almost everyone.What It Was Like to Watch the Beatles Become the Beatles—Nik Cohn Remembers|Nik Cohn|February 9, 2014|DAILY BEAST
He placed it in prominence, instinctively or designedly, rejecting the merely complementary parts.Charles Baudelaire, His Life|Thophile Gautier
This has occurred with regard to agricultural investments, which have awaited a complementary organic legislation.
Every color makes objects near it take on the antagonistic or complementary color.
Each one of a pair enhances the effect of its complementary when the two colors are brought close together.
If colored disks not complementary are mixed by rotation on a motor, they produce an intermediate color.