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compliment

[noun kom-pluh-muhnt; verb kom-pluh-ment]
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noun
  1. an expression of praise, commendation, or admiration: A sincere compliment boosts one's morale.
  2. a formal act or expression of civility, respect, or regard: The mayor paid him the compliment of escorting him.
  3. compliments, a courteous greeting; good wishes; regards: He sends you his compliments.
  4. Archaic. a gift; present.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to pay a compliment to: She complimented the child on his good behavior.
  2. to show kindness or regard for by a gift or other favor: He complimented us by giving a party in our honor.
  3. to congratulate; felicitate: to compliment a prince on the birth of a son.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to pay compliments.
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Origin of compliment

1570–80; < French < Italian complimento < Spanish cumplimiento, equivalent to cumpli- (see comply) + -miento -ment; earlier identical in spelling with complement
Related formscom·pli·ment·a·ble, adjectivecom·pli·ment·er, nouncom·pli·ment·ing·ly, adverbout·com·pli·ment, verb (used with object)un·com·pli·ment·ed, adjectiveun·com·pli·ment·ing, adjective
Can be confusedcomplement compliment (see usage note at complement)

Synonyms

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Antonyms

Usage note

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

Related Words

admirationapplausecommendationhomageovationblessingcourtesyadulationendorsementtributecongratulateapplaudlaudcommendcajoleendorseextolacclaimbouquetconfirmation

Examples from the Web for compliment

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Thank you for the compliment, but I don't expect to stick to it all my life.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • She laughed her little laugh of pleasure, and thanked him prettily for the compliment.

    Viviette

    William J. Locke

  • They are angry also, as I understand, with my mother, for returning his compliment.

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

  • "I can make a horse do what I want," he said, delighted at the compliment.

    Viviette

    William J. Locke

  • But Mr. Gladstone, while acknowledging the compliment, declined because of his age.

    The Grand Old Man

    Richard B. Cook


British Dictionary definitions for compliment

compliment

noun (ˈkɒmplɪmənt)
  1. a remark or act expressing respect, admiration, etc
  2. (usually plural) a greeting of respect or regard
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verb (ˈkɒmplɪˌmɛnt) (tr)
  1. to express admiration of; congratulate or commend
  2. to express or show respect or regard for, esp by a gift
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Word Origin

C17: from French, from Italian complimento, from Spanish cumplimiento, from cumplir to complete, do what is fitting, be polite

confusable

Avoid confusion with complement
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 compliment

n.

"An act, or expression of civility, usually understood to include some hypocrisy, and to mean less than it declares" [Johnson], 1570s, complement, via French compliment (17c.), from Italian complimento "expression of respect and civility," from Vulgar Latin *complire, for Latin complere "to complete" (see complete (adj.)), via notion of "complete the obligations of politeness." Same word as complement but by a different etymological route; differentiated by spelling after 1650.

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v.

1610s, from French complimenter, from compliment (see compliment (n.)). Related: Complimented; complimenting.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with compliment

compliment

see left-handed compliment; pay a compliment; return the compliment.

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.