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 complementary (audio) , -​(ˌ)men-​ˈter-​ə-​lē , -​ˈta-​rə-​ \ adverb
complementariness \ ˌkäm-​plə-​ˈmen-​t(ə-​)rē-​nəs How to pronounce complementary (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 Like Justin Turner and Chris Taylor, Muncy represents the type of reclamation project who transformed from a complementary piece into a legitimate star on the Dodgers’ watch. Tony Blengino, Forbes, 14 Oct. 2021 That is complementary football on our side of the ball. Scott Patsko, cleveland, 13 Oct. 2021 After opting out of the 2020 season, Williams — a seventh-year veteran who starred in the Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl LIV victory — signed a one-year contract with the Bears to be a complementary piece to Montgomery. Colleen Kane, chicagotribune.com, 9 Oct. 2021 The Cowboys stressed the importance of playing complementary football throughout the offseason. David Moore, Dallas News, 3 Oct. 2021 In interviews, Teshler said Cone had originally viewed the product as complementary to its efforts to move away from a traditional fee-for-service payment system. Washington Post, 17 Aug. 2021 His son describes him as complementary to his wife, Josephine Gonzalez, known as Josie. AZCentral.com, 11 Mar. 2021 Their expertise is complementary, leading to a bounty at the weekly market. Washington Post, 20 Aug. 2021 So, there will, in essence, be two parallel and complementary systems in place, the new Qualitätswein based on a geographic hierarchy, and the current system with Prädikat, based on must concentration. Per And Britt Karlsson, Forbes, 20 Apr. 2021

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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Learn More About complementary

Time Traveler for complementary

Time Traveler

The first known use of complementary was in 1829

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Dictionary Entries Near complementary

complementarity

complementary

complementary afterimage

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Last Updated

17 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Complementary.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/complementary. Accessed 27 Oct. 2021.

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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 complementary (audio) \ adverb
complementariness \ -​ˈment-​ə-​rē-​nəs, -​ˈmen-​trē-​ How to pronounce complementary (audio) \ noun

More from Merriam-Webster on complementary

Nglish: Translation of complementary for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of complementary for Arabic Speakers

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