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


of the nature of, conveying, or expressing a compliment, often one that is politely flattering: a complimentary remark.
given free as a gift or courtesy: a complimentary ticket.

noun, plural com·pli·men·ta·ries.

something given or supplied without charge, as lodging, transportation, or meals, especially as an inducement to prospective customers.

Origin of complimentary

First recorded in 1620–30; compliment + -ary
Related formscom·pli·men·ta·ri·ly, adverbcom·pli·men·ta·ri·ness, nounin·ter·com·pli·men·ta·ry, adjectivequa·si-com·pli·men·ta·ry, adjectiveun·com·pli·men·ta·ry, adjective

Synonyms for complimentary

1. commendatory, praising, laudatory.

Antonyms for complimentary Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for complimentary

Contemporary Examples of complimentary

Historical Examples of complimentary

  • The letter was most courteous, most complimentary, most wooing.

  • I know I'm not scientific, but I honestly did mean to be complimentary.

  • Suppose I've got somethin' on—on what complimentary folks like you would call my mind.


    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • Nor was it merely kind or complimentary they were; they were confidential.

    Luttrell Of Arran

    Charles James Lever

  • "You are not complimentary, at all events," he said quietly at length.

    Garrison's Finish

    W. B. M. Ferguson

British Dictionary definitions for complimentary



conveying, containing, or resembling a compliment
expressing praise; flattering
given free, esp as a courtesy or for publicity purposes
Derived Formscomplimentarily, adverb
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 complimentary

1620s, "conveying a compliment," from compliment (n.) + -ary. In later use loosely meaning "free of charge."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper