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 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

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

bouquet, kudo

Synonyms: Verb

congratulate, felicitate, hug

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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.

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

Kane was impressive on the night, but stayed grounded in response to Zinedine Zidane's compliments before the game. SI.com, "Harry Kane Reveals the Tactical Thinking Behind Spurs' Two-Striker System Against Real Madrid," 19 Oct. 2017 These outdoor markets feature unbelievable amounts of leather goods with sales people who are glad to entice customers with compliments and ridiculously cheap prices that are hard to resist. Susan Huston, star-telegram, "Tips for purchasing custom leather items while in Italy," 4 Oct. 2017 After the game ends, E.J. Smith will be here to take your comments, complaints, and maybe even compliments. Jonathan Tannenwald, Philly.com, "Philadelphia Eagles vs New York Giants - live updates," 24 Sep. 2017 The woman seems uncommonly excited about the encounter, showering Maria with extraordinary compliments. Sam Sacks, WSJ, "Sam Sacks on the Best New Fiction," 28 July 2017 Sure, the senior tight end has been ultra-productive this season, but his teammates love to give him compliments that seem just a little backhanded. Dave Southorn, idahostatesman, "Boise State’s touchdown maker ‘feeling the best I have’ after rough junior season," 3 Nov. 2017 Eagles fans might take that as a compliment, though. Andrew Joseph, USA TODAY, "Redskins RB will keep family away from Eagles fans," 18 Oct. 2017 The event will feature door prizes and free babysitting, compliments of the Berea-MidPark High School Key Club. Rich Heileman, cleveland.com, "BW brings 'Anything Goes' to Berea stage: Around The Town," 27 Oct. 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Opponents complimented her for taking on this issue, but cited constitutional concerns with the bill. William L. Spence, idahostatesman, "Treasure Valley lawmakers poured their hearts into these bills — and lost | Idaho Statesman," 28 Mar. 2018 Help your son learn how to smile at someone (in a welcoming, non-creepy way) or compliment the person. Tamekia Reece, Good Housekeeping, "An Age-by-Age Guide to Raising Boys, According to Child Development Experts," 30 Apr. 2019 William thanked the children for the card, and complimented their handwriting. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Prince George Is Gifted a Toy Helicopter by London's Air Ambulance Charity," 9 Jan. 2019 For deeper skin tones, try something more purple or berry tinted, which will compliment your lip tone. Zoë Weiner, Teen Vogue, "Hailee Steinfeld Wore Bright Red Lipstick with Jeans," 17 Sep. 2018 Rosen less than perfect Wilks has complimented rookie quarterback Josh Rosen throughout offseason practices, but that doesn’t mean Rosen hasn’t made mistakes. Kent Somers, azcentral, "Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson misses practice time with undisclosed injury," 7 June 2018 The woman, who declined to give her name, said that Dr. Tyndall had repeatedly complimented her smooth skin. Jennifer Medina, New York Times, "‘Just the Grossest Thing’: Women Recall Interactions With U.S.C. Doctor," 17 May 2018 After introductions, the group dove into their discussion, with one member complimenting Obama on her memory. Yasmeen Wafai, The Seattle Times, "Michelle Obama discusses her book ‘Becoming’ with local book club members before Tacoma Dome talk," 25 Mar. 2019 The exaggerated silhouette perfectly complimented the model/actress' famous curves. Chrissy Rutherford, Harper's BAZAAR, "Emily Ratajkowski Parties at the Oscars After Celebrating 1 Year Wedding Anniversary," 25 Feb. 2019

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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More Definitions for compliment

compliment

noun

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

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

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Comments on compliment

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