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
Nelson’s trick is to use a cream blush that’s a little semi-matte and add a complementary powder blush on top to give the color a little dimension.
Each display will measure more than 7 feet high by 9.5 feet wide and feature 6-millimeter line spacing to show complementary content to the main displays.
For example, violet is the opposite (complementary color) of yellow.
Many backgrounds are colored with unexpected, complementary palettes (pink sky, purple trees) and traced in outlines that are slightly off-registration and rough.
A little logomania is alright, but monochrome bathing suits and smart complementary accessories are essential.
Odorant molecules that have complementary shapes fit and stick.
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.
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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