complementary

adjective
com·​ple·​men·​ta·​ry | \ ˌkäm-plə-ˈmen-t(ə-)rē How to pronounce complementary (audio) \

Definition of complementary

1 : serving to fill out or complete … their economies are more complementary than competitive …— William Petersen
2 : mutually supplying each other's lack … the complementary relationship that binds the two.— Colin S. Gray
3 : relating to or constituting one of a pair of contrasting colors that produce a neutral color when combined in suitable proportions
4 : being complements of each other complementary acute angles
5 : characterized by the capacity for precise pairing of purine and pyrimidine bases between strands of DNA and sometimes RNA such that the structure of one strand determines the other
6 : of, relating to, or based on complementary medicine Cancer, for example, might be treated by blending the best of the Western medicine … with complementary approaches that could include … acupuncture, nutrition, herbs and massage.— Julie Deardorff

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Other Words from complementary

complementarily \ ˌkäm-​plə-​ˈmen-​t(ə-​)rə-​lē How to pronounce complementarily (audio) , -​(ˌ)men-​ˈter-​ə-​lē , -​ˈta-​rə-​ \ adverb
complementariness \ ˌkäm-​plə-​ˈmen-​t(ə-​)rē-​nəs How to pronounce complementariness (audio) \ noun
complementary noun

Examples of complementary in a Sentence

… hot and sour soup encapsulates the Taoist principle central to Chinese culture: yin and yang, the notion of balancing the universe's opposing yet complementary forces. — Rebecca Hays, Cook's Illustrated, January & February 2006 Once Austin got used to what he had on, Jerry was going to talk him into a neck scarf of complementary colors and a cream pullover. — Alice Munro, Atlantic, January 1990 Vann and Ellsberg were the odd couple, difficult men from different worlds satisfying complementary needs in each other. — Neil Sheehan, A Bright Shining Lie, 1988 … it was becoming more and more clear to him that Miss Bart herself possessed precisely the complementary qualities needed to round off his social personality. — Edith Wharton, The House of Mirth, 1905 She wore a new outfit with a complementary scarf. My spouse and I have complementary goals.
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Recent Examples on the Web

This spaced the floor and freed up more room for Toronto’s complementary options. Connor Letourneau, SFChronicle.com, "What must Warriors do for NBA Finals comeback against Raptors?," 8 June 2019 Texture Selecting fabrics that have a wide range of complementary textures adds visual interest and warmth to any room by offering a layered appeal that can be cozy and comfortable or tailored and refined. Ap Mcclatchy, The Mercury News, "Are you a pillow lover or minimalist?," 6 June 2019 The newlywed couple also posed with the ten sweet children (three page boys and seven bridesmaids) in their wedding party: Windsor and Kingston looked sublime in their complementary outfits while posing for a photo together on the grassy grounds. Nicole Saunders, Harper's BAZAAR, "Lady Gabriella Windsor Is Glowing in the Official Photographs from Her Royal Wedding," 21 May 2019 There is no cure for chronic fatigue syndrome, but doctors can treat the symptoms with medications, counseling, balanced diets, and complementary therapies like deep breathing, according to the CDC. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "If You're Feeling Tired All the Time, You Might Have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome," 17 May 2019 And the longtime allies saw an opportunity to strengthen both brands with complementary strengths. Matt Allyn, Popular Mechanics, "Dogfish Head and Sam Adams Have Officially Joined Forces," 10 May 2019 Also, the running game—this offense is at its best as a run-first unit, where Russell Wilson’s unique quarterbacking mobility can be a dynamic complementary asset for this offense, rather than its inconsistent backbone. Andy Benoit, SI.com, "NFC West Offseason Report Cards: Cardinals Blitzing, Rams Spend on Defense, Garoppolo Ready to Execute, Seahawks Rebuilding," 28 June 2018 Try out the look with a utilitarian jacket, jumpsuit, or mini skirt, then add accessories in complementary hues. Vogue, "How to Shop Spring’s Most Exciting Trends For Under $250," 27 Apr. 2019 Blue Cross of Idaho Executive Vice President Paul Zurlo said in a statement that all affected members were notified and were offered three years of complementary credit monitoring and identity protection services. Rebecca Boone, The Seattle Times, "Blue Cross of Idaho hacked, some member information accessed," 12 Apr. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'complementary.' 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 complementary

1829, in the meaning defined at sense 3

History and Etymology for complementary

see complement entry 1

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Statistics for complementary

Last Updated

15 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for complementary

The first known use of complementary was in 1829

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More Definitions for complementary

complementary

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of complementary

: completing something else or making it better : serving as a complement
used of two things when each adds something to the other or helps to make the other better
: going together well : working well together

complementary

adjective
com·​ple·​men·​ta·​ry | \ ˌkäm-plə-ˈmen-tə-rē How to pronounce complementary (audio) \

Kids Definition of complementary

: serving to make whole or improve something Their complementary talents make them a great team.

complementary

adjective
com·​ple·​men·​ta·​ry | \ ˌkäm-plə-ˈment-ə-rē, -ˈmen-trē How to pronounce complementary (audio) \

Medical Definition of complementary

1 : relating to or constituting one of a pair of contrasting colors that produce a neutral color when combined in suitable proportions
2 : characterized by molecular complementarity especially : characterized by the capacity for precise pairing of purine and pyrimidine bases between strands of DNA and sometimes RNA such that the structure of one strand determines the other

Other Words from complementary

complementarily \ -​ˈmen-​trə-​lē, -​(ˌ)men-​ˈter-​ə-​lē, -​ˈment-​ə-​rə-​lē How to pronounce complementarily (audio) \ adverb
complementariness \ -​ˈment-​ə-​rē-​nəs, -​ˈmen-​trē-​ How to pronounce complementariness (audio) \ noun

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