View synonyms for compliment


[ noun kom-pluh-muhnt; verb kom-pluh-ment ]


  1. an expression of praise, commendation, or admiration:

    A sincere compliment boosts one's morale.

    Synonyms: panegyric, eulogy, tribute, kudos

    Antonyms: disparagement

  2. an 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.

verb (used with object)

  1. to express praise, commendation, or admiration of:

    She complimented the child on his good behavior.

    Synonyms: honor, praise, commend

  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:

    They were traveling to the capital to compliment the prince on the birth of a son.

verb (used without object)

  1. to express praise, commendation, or admiration:

    He was known for a warm style of leadership in which he complimented and praised frequently.



  1. a remark or act expressing respect, admiration, etc
  2. usually plural a greeting of respect or regard


  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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Confusables Note

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Other Words From

  • com·pli·ment·a·ble adjective
  • com·pli·ment·er noun
  • com·pli·ment·ing·ly adverb
  • out·com·pli·ment verb (used with object)
  • un·com·pli·ment·ed adjective
  • un·com·pli·ment·ing adjective
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Word History and Origins

Origin of compliment1

First recorded in 1570–80; from French, from Italian complimento, from Spanish cumplimiento “compliance or fulfillment of the forms of a courtesy,” from cumpli(r) “to complete” ( comply ) + -miento, noun suffix ( -ment ); earlier identical in spelling with complement
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Word History and Origins

Origin of compliment1

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

  1. compliments of, given or donated by:

    Begin your day with a delicious continental breakfast, compliments of your hosts.

    I have a mystery tomato plant growing among my squash, apparently compliments of the birds and their droppings.

More idioms and phrases containing compliment

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

One of the biggest compliments I can have as a drummer is that someone is dancing to you.

He said the hugs and compliments he gave her were friendly and told investigators he’d had similar conversations with students about their sex lives before.

Today, the word is frequently used with more nuance and intrigue, and some even use it as a compliment.

He hugged them for too long, pressured them into private meetings in his office and made unwanted compliments about their appearance, records show.

In January, Elton John paid him one of the highest compliments imaginable, saying, “you’re going to be one of the biggest artists in the whole wide world.”

From Time

For many men, being depicted by Channing Tatum in a film about your life would be a compliment.

Hawke, ever the charmer, kicks things off with a compliment: I really like you guys.

People compliment me on Boyhood sometimes, and I think, “Well, it better have been good!”

And the criticism is always poorly packaged as concern or some sad excuse for a compliment.

To be the very first moment that we see on an episode of The Good Wife was quite a compliment and very humbling.

“To say that you would have more sense than the police, would be a poor compliment,” said the old lady.

The court paid him the high compliment of refusing his suit, declaring that he had himself inflicted sufficient punishment.

It was a pretty compliment, and sincere I knew, for no one could meet him without recognising his frank outspoken nature.

Marius frowned darkly, but before he could speak, Tressan was insinuating a compliment to the Marquise.

"And I can return the compliment," was my reply, as we all gathered round a brew of tea to exchange news and compare notes.


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Compliment Vs. Complement

What’s the difference between compliment and complement?

A compliment is a comment intended to express praise or admiration of someone. Compliment is also commonly used as a verb meaning to give a compliment. The word complement most commonly refers to something that goes along with something else and serves to make it better or complete it. It’s also commonly used as a verb meaning to serve as a complement in this way, as in That necklace really complements the rest of your outfit.

Complement has many other specific meanings, but compliment is really only used to refer to a nice comment or the action of giving one.

Since the primary senses of both words are generally used in positive contexts, it can be easy to confuse them.

The adjective form of complement is complementary, as in complementary colors. The adjective form of compliment is complimentary, which can describe something intended to be a compliment, as in complimentary remark, or it can be used to mean that something is given for free, as in I hope we get complimentary snacks on this flight.

The easiest way to remember the difference is that complement often means to complete, and complete also starts with c-o-m-p-l-e. On the other hand, compliment is spelled with an i, and compliments are something that I like to get (and give). Nice shirt, by the way.

Here’s an example of compliment and complement used correctly in the same sentence.

Example: The chef overheard the diners at one table complimenting the way the sauce complemented the fish, so she told the server to offer them a complimentary dessert. 

Want to learn more? Read the full breakdown of the difference between compliment and complement.

Quiz yourself on compliment vs. complement!

Should compliment or complement be used in the following sentence?

The two singers have very different styles, but they _____ each other so well during the performance.

Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

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