1

compliment

noun com·pli·ment \ ˈkäm-plə-mənt \
Updated on: 8 Dec 2017

Definition of compliment

1 a : an expression of esteem, respect, affection, or admiration; especially : an admiring remark
b : formal and respectful recognition : honor
2 a compliments plural : best wishes : regards
  • accept my compliments
  • compliments of the season
b used in the phrase compliments of to identify the donor or source of a gift or free item or service
  • For less than $10, she gets transportation to the real-estate tycoon's casino, a voucher worth about $13 in cash, a meal ticket and a coupon good for $5 on her next visit—all compliments of the casino.
  • —Julie Amparano
often used ironically to identify the source of something that is not wanted
  • He received a speeding ticket, compliments of the state police.
  • Add two more games to the list of area basketball postponements this week, compliments of wintry weather.
  • —Marq Mitcham

Examples of compliment in a Sentence

  1. "The warden said he wouldn't let just anybody have a young swan, but he'd let you have one because you understand about birds, and he trusts you. That's quite a compliment, son." Mr. Beaver looked pleased. —E. B. WhiteThe Trumpet Of The Swan(1970) 2000
  2. Boys in the Midwest grow up without a word of praise, their parents fearful that a compliment might make them vain … —Garrison KeillorWLT: A Radio Romance1991
  3. Mallard scowled at him. He had never learned to receive compliment or expressions of gratitude gracefully. —Dorothy SimpsonThe Night She Died1981
  4. The first presentation of Falstaff I ever saw was yours … Perhaps the best compliment I can pay is to say, as I truly can, I am very anxious to see it again. —Abraham Lincolnletter17 Aug. 1863
  5. He told her he admired her paintings and she returned the compliment by saying that she was a fan of his sculptures.

  6. When customers recommend our company to friends and family members, we consider that to be the highest compliment we can get.

Recent Examples of compliment from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'compliment.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Is it complement or compliment?

Today there is no overlap between the meanings of complement and compliment, as either nouns or verbs, but their similar spellings and pronunciations make them prime candidates for confusion. Despite the difference in their meanings, both complement and compliment have roots in the Latin word complēre which means “to complete.” Complement remains true to that origin in its spelling and in its meanings that have to do with completing or completion. Keep that connection in mind and there should be no question as to whether complement or compliment is the correct word to use in a given context.

Origin and Etymology of compliment

Middle French, from Italian complimento, from Spanish cumplimiento, from cumplir to be courteous — more at comply

compliment Synonyms


2

compliment

verb com·pli·ment \ ˈkäm-plə-ˌment \

Definition of compliment

transitive verb
1 : to express esteem, respect, affection, or admiration to : to pay a compliment to
  • complimented the pianist on his performance
2 : to present with a token of esteem
  • complimented her with an honorary degree

Examples of compliment in a Sentence

  1. She was forever complimenting Ziba's exotic appearance and asking for her viewpoint on various international issues. —Anne TylerDigging to America2006
  2. … she had gotten a three-and-a-half-star review in the Nut County Reporter, complimenting her especially on her crème brûlée and her pork medallions … —Jane SmileyGood Faith2003
  3. What a day. She had been winked at, complimented, given a gift, and now mistaken for the mysterious Alyce … —Karen CushmanThe Midwife's Apprentice1995
  4. Wilde would compliment him later: 'I have always regarded you as the best critic of my plays.' 'But I have never criticised your plays,' said Tree. 'That's why,' said Wilde. —Richard EllmannOscar Wilde(1984) 1988
  5. complimented her on her election victory

Recent Examples of compliment from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'compliment.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of compliment



COMPLIMENT Defined for English Language Learners

compliment

noun

Definition of compliment for English Language Learners

  • : a remark that says something good about someone or something

  • : an action that expresses admiration or approval


compliment

verb

Definition of compliment for English Language Learners

  • : to say nice things about (someone or something) : to pay a compliment to (someone or something)


COMPLIMENT Defined for Kids

1

compliment

noun com·pli·ment \ ˈkäm-plə-mənt \

Definition of compliment for Students

1 : an act or expression of praise, approval, respect, or admiration
2 compliments plural : best wishes
  • Please accept this with my compliments.

2

compliment

verb com·pli·ment \ ˈkäm-plə-ˌment \

Definition of compliment for Students

complimented; complimenting
: to express praise, approval, respect, or admiration to

Synonym Discussion of compliment

compliment, praise, and flatter mean to express approval or admiration to someone personally. compliment is used of a courteous or pleasant statement of admiration.
    • He complimented students on their neat work.
praise may be used when the statement of approval comes from a person in authority.
    • The boss praised us for doing a good job.
flatter is used of complimenting a person too much and especially insincerely.
    • We flattered the teacher in the hope of getting better grades.


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