complementary

adjective com·ple·men·ta·ry \ ˌkäm-plə-ˈmen-t(ə-)rē \
Updated on: 15 Nov 2017

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

complementarily

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

complementariness

play \ˌkäm-plə-ˈmen-t(ə-)rē-nəs\ noun

complementary

noun

Examples of complementary in a Sentence

  1. … 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 HaysCook's IllustratedJanuary & February 2006
  2. 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 MunroAtlanticJanuary 1990
  3. Vann and Ellsberg were the odd couple, difficult men from different worlds satisfying complementary needs in each other. —Neil SheehanA Bright Shining Lie1988
  4. … 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 WhartonThe House of Mirth1905
  5. She wore a new outfit with a complementary scarf.

  6. My spouse and I have complementary goals.

Recent Examples of complementary from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of complementary



COMPLEMENTARY Defined for English Language Learners

complementary

adjective

Definition of complementary for English Language Learners

  • : 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 Defined for Kids

complementary

adjective com·ple·men·ta·ry \ ˌkäm-plə-ˈmen-tə-rē \

Definition of complementary for Students

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

Medical Dictionary

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

complementarily

play \-ˈmen-trə-lē, -(ˌ)men-ˈter-ə-lē, -ˈment-ə-rə-lē\ adverb

complementariness

play \-ˈment-ə-rē-nəs, -ˈmen-trē-\ noun


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