[kom-plin, -plahyn]

noun Ecclesiastical.

the last of the seven canonical hours, or the service for it, originally occurring after the evening meal but now usually following immediately upon vespers.

Also com·plin [kom-plin] /ˈkɒm plɪn/.

Origin of compline

1175–1225; Middle English comp(e)lin, equivalent to compli, cump(e)lie (< Old French complie, cumplie < Latin complēta (hōra) complete (hour) + -in (of matin) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for compline

Historical Examples of compline

  • Then followed Compline, and then the monks were ready for bed, and retired to the dortor.

    English Villages

    P. H. Ditchfield

  • "It is eight o'clock, and I must be back to Compline," he said.

    The Christian

    Hall Caine

  • But the bell rang for Compline, and the brothers passed into church.

    The Christian

    Hall Caine

  • As for Compline, it resounds when night, the symbol of death, has come.

    En Route

    J.-K. (Joris-Karl) Huysmans

  • Songs of thanksgiving were uplifted that night at Compline in the choir.

British Dictionary definitions for compline


complin (ˈkɒmplɪn)


RC Church the last of the seven canonical hours of the divine office

Word Origin for compline

C13: from Old French complie, from Medieval Latin hōra complēta, literally: the completed hour, from Latin complēre to fill up, complete
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 compline

the last canonical service of the day, early 13c., cumplie, compelin, from Old French complie (12c.), from Latin completa (hora), from completus (see complete (adj.)); with unexplained -n-.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper