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

Takeda and Shire weren’t perfectly complementary, of course. Jonathan Saltzman, BostonGlobe.com, "Takeda, already a giant in Mass. biopharma, plans a bigger footprint," 4 July 2019 After so many years as the best player on his team, and the face of his school or franchise, Walker would have to adjust to being a complementary player with the Lakers, not to mention the big market. Dom Amore, courant.com, "As Kemba Walker approaches NBA free agency, championships, legacy and money are all a part of the stakes," 27 June 2019 The Avs enter free agency looking to add an elite forward and possibly a backup goalie, plus complementary players. Mike Chambers, The Denver Post, "Should the Colorado Avalanche pursue Artemi Panarin in free agency? It’s worth considering," 4 June 2019 Boehme hopes the more precise sea level rise predictions that will come out of this data and complementary work during a five-year research collaboration on Thwaites Glacier will prepare us better for our changing future. Stephen Witt, WIRED, "Fitted With Sensors, Antarctic Seals Track Water Temperatures," 25 June 2019 This approach has been used for years in traditional and complementary healthcare practitioners. Molly Kimball, nola.com, "The do’s and don’ts of the nutrient-rich Whole 30 diet: Best of Molly Kimball," 18 June 2019 Raytheon and United Technologies are complementary in products. Edward Lotterman, Twin Cities, "Real World Economics: Playing monopoly is more than just rolling the dice," 16 June 2019 As in scientific problems found in nature, Bongard-type problems give us exemplars that follow a particular unknown rule or pattern and others that do not follow it, or follow a different or complementary rule. Quanta Magazine, "Solution: ‘Bongard Problems and Scientific Discovery’," 28 June 2017 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

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

13 Jul 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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Comments on complementary

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