compliment

noun
com·​pli·​ment | \ ˈkäm-plə-mənt How to pronounce compliment (audio) \

Definition of compliment

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : an expression of esteem, respect, affection, or admiration especially : an admiring remark
b : formal and respectful recognition : honor
2a 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 serviceFor 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 wantedHe 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

compliment

verb
com·​pli·​ment | \ ˈkäm-plə-ˌment How to pronounce compliment (audio) \
complimented; complimenting; compliments

Definition of compliment (Entry 2 of 2)

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

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Synonyms for compliment

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

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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.

Examples of compliment in a Sentence

Noun "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. White, The Trumpet Of The Swan, (1970) 2000 Boys in the Midwest grow up without a word of praise, their parents fearful that a compliment might make them vain … — Garrison Keillor, WLT: A Radio Romance, 1991 Mallard scowled at him. He had never learned to receive compliment or expressions of gratitude gracefully. — Dorothy Simpson, The Night She Died, 1981 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 Lincoln, letter, 17 Aug. 1863 He told her he admired her paintings and she returned the compliment by saying that she was a fan of his sculptures. When customers recommend our company to friends and family members, we consider that to be the highest compliment we can get. Verb She was forever complimenting Ziba's exotic appearance and asking for her viewpoint on various international issues. — Anne Tyler, Digging to America, 2006 … 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 Smiley, Good Faith, 2003 What a day. She had been winked at, complimented, given a gift, and now mistaken for the mysterious Alyce … — Karen Cushman, The Midwife's Apprentice, 1995 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 Ellmann, Oscar Wilde, (1984) 1988 complimented her on her election victory
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun But Minshew repaid Patricia’s compliment and credited a good defensive game plan. Carlos Monarrez, Detroit Free Press, "Why Detroit Lions' run defense dominated Jaguars: 'The guys played aggressive'," 18 Oct. 2020 What one recipient of the feedback might consider injustice, another might regard as a compliment. Benedict Carey, New York Times, "Scott Lilienfeld, Psychologist Who Questioned Psychology, Dies at 59," 16 Oct. 2020 London paid Sterling the ultimate writer’s compliment of asking him to edit his books. Gary Kamiya, SFChronicle.com, "S.F.’s unofficial poet laureate thrived in ‘cool, grey city of love’ — for a time," 16 Oct. 2020 Liberals on Twitter are calling for Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein to step down from her position on the Senate Judiciary Committee following her compliment of committee Chairman Sen. Lindsey Graham. Andrew Mark Miller, Washington Examiner, "'Time to step down': Liberals erupt after Feinstein embraces Graham following Barrett hearing," 15 Oct. 2020 Thomas paid James an even bigger compliment Thursday before Game 5. Scott Gleeson, USA TODAY, "As fans and pundits debate LeBron James' late-game pass, Isiah Thomas praises his clutch play," 11 Oct. 2020 It’s Minnie Riperton-worthy, a compliment that Carey herself certainly wouldn’t take lightly. Billboard Staff, Billboard, "The 100 Greatest Mariah Carey Songs: Staff Picks," 5 Oct. 2020 Foles was considering a heartfelt compliment that Indianapolis Colts coach Frank Reich provided earlier that morning. Dan Wiederer, chicagotribune.com, "The Nick Foles era begins Sunday with hopes his confidence and composure — and ‘fearless’ demeanor — can fuel a memorable run for the Chicago Bears," 3 Oct. 2020 Roiphe certainly intended the comparison as a compliment. Madeleine Kearns, National Review, "The Sex That Ruins Everything," 1 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Choose from three sets: all white, cool blues, and warm reds/yellows for a look that will compliment your decor. Popsci Commerce Team, Popular Science, "Gear to make every day feel like National Coffee Day," 29 Sep. 2020 Her record will compliment Vice President Biden’s commitment to a presidency that stands for the people and not just the interests of the privileged few. Sabrina Eaton, cleveland, "Ohio politicians react to Joe Biden picking Kamala Harris as his running mate," 11 Aug. 2020 He was supposed to compliment Dinelson Lamet at the top of the rotation, but Lamet is also sidelined with injury. Scott Boeck, USA TODAY, "Padres ace Mike Clevinger removed from NLDS roster after injury, ineligible for NLCS," 8 Oct. 2020 Conservation groups were quick to compliment the lawmakers. Paul A. Smith, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Congress passes second big conservation bill of 2020," 3 Oct. 2020 Supplying Malachi Watkins the ball early and often, the senior ran for a pair of scores to compliment the first score from junior Daniel Enovitch. cleveland, "No. 2 St. Edward sharp on defense and offense in 31-10 domination of No. 15 Benedictine," 2 Oct. 2020 Appearing on Morning Joe on Wednesday, Nancy Pelosi, incredibly, even managed to compliment Republicans of yesteryear while criticizing Trump. J.c. Pan, The New Republic, "Democrats Have a Chance to Hit Trump on Jobs," 2 Oct. 2020 The song's lyrics compliment the narrative, with the song comparing a romantic partner's touch to a divine embrace. Joey Nolfi, EW.com, "Justin Bieber, Chance the Rapper take fans to church in 'Holy' music video," 18 Sep. 2020 Does your chill nature compliment their anxious demeanor? Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "18 Signs You've Found Your Soulmate," 27 Aug. 2020

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.

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First Known Use of compliment

Noun

1598, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

1673, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for compliment

Noun and Verb

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

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Time Traveler for compliment

Time Traveler

The first known use of compliment was in 1598

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Statistics for compliment

Last Updated

24 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Compliment.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/compliment. Accessed 30 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for compliment

compliment

noun
How to pronounce compliment (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of compliment

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a remark that says something good about someone or something
: an action that expresses admiration or approval

compliment

verb
How to pronounce compliment (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of compliment (Entry 2 of 2)

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

compliment

noun
com·​pli·​ment | \ ˈkäm-plə-mənt How to pronounce compliment (audio) \

Kids Definition of compliment

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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

compliment

verb
com·​pli·​ment | \ ˈkäm-plə-ˌment How to pronounce compliment (audio) \
complimented; complimenting

Kids Definition of compliment (Entry 2 of 2)

: to express praise, approval, respect, or admiration to

Choose the Right Synonym for compliment

Verb

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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Comments on compliment

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