com·​pla·​cen·​cy | \ kəm-ˈplā-sᵊn(t)-sē How to pronounce complacency (audio) \
plural complacencies

Definition of complacency

1 : self-satisfaction especially when accompanied by unawareness of actual dangers or deficiencies When it comes to safety, complacency can be dangerous.
2 : an instance of usually unaware or uninformed self-satisfaction

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Examples of complacency in a Sentence

He sees a dangerous sense of complacency about the U.S. stock market—where investors were emboldened after the 1998 downturn was followed by a resounding snapback. — Bernard Wysocki, Jr., Wall Street Journal, 3 Aug. 1999 He spoke, however, with resignation, even complacency, rather than anguish. — Harriet Ritvo, The Platypus and The Mermaid, 1997 … you say to yourself, "OK, why did it happen? Why did we make those bad engineering decisions we made in 1967 and 1986 with Challenger?" I'll tell you. It's the human element. And I suggest that there's a complacency there that comes from success. — Alan Shepard, Yankee, October 1991 Tony Brace lived in Richmond, in circumstances of impeccable domestic content. Matthew and Susan had visited, in the early days of their marriage; driving home, they had mocked the décor and the connubial complacency. — Penelope Lively, City Of The Mind, 1991 The public was lulled into complacency. a momentary complacency that was quickly dispelled by the shock of cold reality
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Recent Examples on the Web Another meeting within a two-week span might help with scouting reports and preparation, but coach John Tillman wants to avoid a sense of complacency among his players. Edward Lee,, "Pivotal weekend looms for both Maryland men and women | COLLEGE LACROSSE NOTEBOOK," 25 Mar. 2021 That lack of competition can lead to a certain level of complacency, with entrepreneurs failing to explore all the possible iterations of their first innovation. Daniel Tenreiro, National Review, "China’s Tech Crackdown Continues," 16 Mar. 2021 For someone who sees himself as a spy in the house of complacency that is American culture, suddenly finding himself in the spotlight, with both its extracurricular obligations and access to irresistible opportunities, is an adjustment. Erik Maza, Town & Country, "Jeremy O. Harris at Home, Ready to Go," 11 Mar. 2021 Officials are working to combat that sense of complacency. Laura Krantz,, "Fewer getting tested for COVID-19, which is a problem, experts say," 3 Mar. 2021 What’s more, a sense of complacency can easily lead to a surge of new outbreaks. Yoni Heisler, BGR, "Dr. Fauci reveals 9 places you’re most likely to catch the coronavirus," 28 Feb. 2021 One, an intangible effect of having been so successful so early in the team’s contention window might have been a creeping sense of complacency. Jared Wyllys, Forbes, "Chicago Cubs’ Underdog Status Might Work To Their Advantage," 25 Feb. 2021 No amount of Super Bowl rings could seduce him into a state of complacency. Mike Jones, USA TODAY, "Opinion: Even with six Super Bowl rings, Bucs' Tom Brady still had something to prove to himself," 24 Jan. 2021 Already, in addition to the logistical challenges, Indian officials must deal with a growing sense of complacency. New York Times, "A Mix of Pride and Doubts as Modi Launches India’s Covid-19 Vaccine Drive," 15 Jan. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'complacency.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of complacency

1650, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for complacency

see complacent

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Learn More about complacency

Time Traveler for complacency

Time Traveler

The first known use of complacency was in 1650

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Statistics for complacency

Last Updated

6 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Complacency.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for complacency



English Language Learners Definition of complacency

: a feeling of being satisfied with how things are and not wanting to try to make them better : a complacent feeling or condition


com·​pla·​cen·​cy | \ kəm-ˈplā-sᵊn-sē How to pronounce complacency (audio) \

Kids Definition of complacency

: a feeling of being satisfied with the way things are and not wanting to make them better

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Comments on complacency

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