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 : serving to fill out or complete … their economies are more complementary than competitive … — William Petersen
3 : mutually supplying each other's lack … the complementary relationship that binds the two. — Colin S. Gray
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
complementarilyplay \ˌkäm-plə-ˈmen-t(ə-)rə-lē, -(ˌ)men-ˈter-ə-lē, -ˈta-rə-\ adverb
complementarinessplay \ˌkäm-plə-ˈmen-t(ə-)rē-nəs\ 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.
Recent Examples of complementary from the Web
To the chapel’s namesake, physical and spiritual ministrations had also seemed complementary.
Both players, however, will face a significant adjustment period after playing alongside complementary guards in Patrick Beverley and J.J. Redick.
This icebox cake combines a complementary trio of ingredients: chocolate chip cookies, malt and peanut butter.
Post-race, attendees celebrated with complementary Thomas Hooker Beer, Dunkin Donuts Nitro Brew and sandwiches from Bear's Smokehouse BBQ, while Radio 104 WMRQ provided the music.
Your comparison may be blocked, redirected to an Amazon-friendly page, or you could get offered a complementary item to entice you back towards buying from Amazon.
General manager Ozzie Newsome and company had spent a significant chunk of the offseason trying to find a complementary receiver.
Guests can choose a slate of either five white or five red wines, matched to complementary flavors in the sweets.
One thing that’s been as San Diego as French fries in a burrito and palate-decimating IPAs has been the Chargers’ ability to use complementary running backs to augment their ground game.
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.
COMPLEMENTARY Defined for English Language Learners
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
Definition of complementary for Students
: serving to make whole or improve something Their complementary talents make them a great team.
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\-ˈmen-trə-lē, -(ˌ)men-ˈter-ə-lē, -ˈment-ə-rə-lē\play adverb
complementariness\-ˈment-ə-rē-nəs, -ˈmen-trē-\play noun
Seen and Heard
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