View synonyms for complimentary


[ kom-pluh-men-tuh-ree, -tree ]


  1. given free as a gift or courtesy:

    The hotel gives repeat guests a complimentary gift basket

  2. expressing a compliment, often one that is politely flattering:

    a complimentary remark.

    Synonyms: laudatory, commendatory

    Antonyms: abusive

  3. showing or conveying approval or favor:

    Our project was received in a complimentary spirit by the community.

    His analysis of our work was not as complimentary as we were hoping it would be.


, plural com·pli·men·ta·ries.
  1. something given or supplied without charge, such as lodging, transportation, or meals, especially as an inducement to prospective customers.


/ -trɪ; ˌkɒmplɪˈmɛntərɪ /


  1. conveying, containing, or resembling a compliment
  2. expressing praise; flattering
  3. given free, esp as a courtesy or for publicity purposes

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Derived Forms

  • ˌcompliˈmentarily, adverb
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Other Words From

  • com·pli·men·ta·ri·ly [kom-pl, uh, -m, uh, n-, tair, -, uh, -lee], adverb
  • com·pli·men·ta·ri·ness noun
  • in·ter·com·pli·men·ta·ry adjective
  • qua·si-com·pli·men·ta·ry adjective
  • un·com·pli·men·ta·ry adjective
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Word History and Origins

Origin of complimentary1

First recorded in 1620–30; compliment + -ary
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Example Sentences

It’s a nod to the mild 48-volt hybrid setup plucked from the Lamborghini Sian that provides complimentary power to the combustion engine.

With an order, you get complimentary 1GB global data and 8GB North America data.

He was the best cheerleader—always encouraging and complimentary, and at ten years my junior, he inspired me to go faster and further, but never pushed too hard.

Hygiene products in the previous prisons through which I went and where my comrades have remained are complimentary.

Pickle culture also extends into restaurants, where you’ll often find giant jars of house pickles fermenting in the back, given out as complimentary appetizers to help break up heavy meals.

From Eater

Disparagement painted over with the brushstrokes of complimentary praise is still disparagement.

And so, NPR, please prepare a complimentary tote bag for Mr. Cantor.

Best Actress Oscar nominee Quvenzhané Wallis has been called a lot of things, most of them complimentary.

Complimentary and grateful, the president also allowed himself a moment of reflection.

The punchline, which Rivers argued was complimentary, concerned the first lady: “We used to have Jackie O, now we have Blackie O!”

It was somebody else, whose name he had forgotten, but of whom he went on to speak in not very complimentary terms.

Having had time to consider the Budget proposals in detail Mr. Asquith was less complimentary and more critical.

He was young to be a colonel, but the title was merely nominal and complimentary, and not given for any service to his country.

“You are very complimentary,” said Katie, with a glance at her cousin, which threw that young lady into silent convulsions.

"You aren't very complimentary to us," Frank grumbled, as he hunched himself over the wheel of Mollie's car.


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Complimentary Vs. Complementary

What’s the difference between complimentary and complementary?

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. 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).

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 complimentary and complementary 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 complimentary vs. complementary!

Should complimentary or complementary be used in the following sentence?

My comment was meant to be _____—I really do like your shoes!




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