com·​ple·​men·​tar·​i·​ty | \ ˌkäm-plə-(ˌ)men-ˈter-ə-tē How to pronounce complementarity (audio) , -mən-, -ˈta-rə- \

Definition of complementarity

1 : the quality or state of being complementary
2 : the complementary relationship of theories explaining the nature of light or other quantized radiation in terms of both electromagnetic waves and particles

Examples of complementarity in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web And Ariel’s immersion in popular song, counterbalanced by Caliban’s African drumming and chanting, invokes the complementarity and tension between authentic and refracted diaspora cultures. Matthew Guerrieri, Washington Post, "Bring on the ‘Stormy Weather’: IN Series does Shakespeare by way of Billie Holiday," 21 Oct. 2019 This is the heart of complementarity, as Niels Bohr formulated it. Quanta Magazine, "Entanglement Made Simple," 28 Apr. 2016 The talk was all about complementarities, synergies, and economies of scale... The reality quickly turned out to be one of incompatible product designs, operating systems, sales forces, brand images, and corporate cultures. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, "Column: Health insurance companies are useless. Get rid of them," 5 Aug. 2019 Bousso thought complementarity would come to the rescue yet again to resolve the firewall paradox. Jennifer Ouellette, Quanta Magazine, "Alice and Bob Meet the Wall of Fire," 21 Dec. 2012 Niels Bohr was very fond of the notion of complementarity. Quanta Magazine, "Quantum Questions Inspire New Math," 30 Mar. 2017 In 2004, the paradox seemed to be resolved when physicists proposed the notion of black hole complementarity. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Stephen Hawking’s final paper published, tackles famous paradox," 11 Oct. 2018 These loops are called complementarity-determining regions, or CDRs. Bradley J. Fikes,, "In struggle against HIV, scientists get help from cows," 25 July 2017

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

1911, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of complementarity was in 1911

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Cite this Entry

“Complementarity.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for complementarity


com·​ple·​men·​tar·​i·​ty | \ ˌkäm-plə-(ˌ)men-ˈtar-ət-ē, -mən- How to pronounce complementarity (audio) \
plural complementarities

Medical Definition of complementarity

: correspondence in reverse of part of one molecule to part of another: as
a : the arrangement of chemical groups and electric charges that enables a combining group of an antibody to combine with a specific determinant group of an antigen or hapten
b : the correspondence between strands or nucleotides of DNA or sometimes RNA that permits their precise pairing evolution of the contemporary genetic code involving purine-pyrimidine complementarity— Struther Arnott & P. J. Bond

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with complementarity

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