complementary

adjective
com·ple·men·ta·ry | \ ˌkäm-plə-ˈmen-t(ə-)rē \

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, -(ˌ)men-ˈter-ə-lē, -ˈta-rə- \ adverb
complementariness \ˌkäm-plə-ˈmen-t(ə-)rē-nəs \ 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

Hines is more of a complementary piece and a healthy Mack will receive first crack at the starting gig over fifth-round rookie Jordan Wilkins. Eddie Brown, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Fantasy Football 2018: Indianapolis Colts Preview," 11 July 2018 The case against: The fact that McKinnon has been a strong complementary player during his four years in the league isn’t all good. Michael Beller, SI.com, "High-Risk, High-Reward Players for the 2018 Fantasy Football Season," 10 July 2018 Or is the Heat a team full of complementary players in need of a top-tier superstar to lift them? Greg Cote, miamiherald, "Here's how Miami Heat got stuck in NBA purgatory. Now, can Pat Riley find a way out?," 22 June 2018 The idea is to combine complementary perks of two companies, adding value to your subscriptions. David Pogue, Scientific American, "Megamergers I’d Like to See," 13 July 2018 If telescopes are our eyes on the cosmos, neutrino detectors might be our ears, or nose: Their signals reveal complementary information. Sophia Chen, WIRED, "What's a Blazar? A Galactic Bakery for Cosmic Rays," 12 July 2018 There is some complementary overlap here with Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky’s work on fast and slow systems of thinking. The Economist, "The L wordWho is a Democrat?," 12 July 2018 Granted, one big unknown is how a lot of these players would have looked when playing a complementary role such as the one this year’s rookie will be expected to play with the Sixers. David Murphy, Philly.com, "A few final Sixers thoughts before NBA draft night | David Murphy," 21 June 2018 Private home rental is complementary to hotel offerings, said Javier Cedillo-Espin, chief executive of Onefinestay. New York Times, "Blurring Lines, Hotels Get Into the Home-Sharing Business," 2 July 2018

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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Phrases Related to complementary

complementary angles

complementary color

Statistics for complementary

Last Updated

21 Sep 2018

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 \

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 \

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 \ adverb
complementariness \-ˈment-ə-rē-nəs, -ˈmen-trē- \ noun

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