compliment

noun
com·​pli·​ment | \ˈkäm-plə-mənt \

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 \
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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for compliment

Synonyms: Noun

bouquet, kudo

Synonyms: Verb

congratulate, felicitate, hug

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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
See More

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

The girls either swiped on a fuchsia or crimson lip tint, as well as faint pink washes of eye shadow, to compliment their camo outfits. Lai Frances, Allure, "A Comprehensive Guide to the Evolution of Twice's Hair and Makeup," 6 Nov. 2018 Reds with cool blue undertones, like the one Sadie wore to the Emmys, are best for complimenting fair skin. Zoë Weiner, Teen Vogue, "Sadie Sink Wore Chanel Lipstick to the Emmys," 19 Sep. 2018 Louisville City coach James O'Connor wasn't quite ready to generalize Tuesday as a win for the USL, but didn't shy away from complimenting his team's caliber of play. Danielle Lerner, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville City FC's latest Open Cup win signals a bright future," 6 June 2018 What follows is the weirdest, most awkward interview ever, in which Tess appeals to Howard’s ego by complimenting his manicure. refinery29.com, "Sweetbitter Premiere: Welcome To New York," 7 May 2018 In a Facebook Live interview with Galore, Normani seemingly struggles to say something nice about Camila — after complimenting her four other bandmates with hesitation. Leanna Commins, Cosmopolitan, "A Definitive Timeline Of ALL The Drama Between Camila Cabello and Her (Former) Fifth Harmony Bandmates," 3 Feb. 2018 Another note, which was partially redacted when records were turned over to a reporter, complimented Olson for his response to a call at Walgreens on 76th and Center. Karen Pilarski, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Wauwatosa cop who punched teen at Mayfair was suspended three times before, records show," 26 June 2018 Cristobal has complimented both players this spring and noted that the team is expecting some more competition coming in this fall. Tyson Alger, OregonLive.com, "As spring closes, kicker Adam Stack still has a chance to pull double duty for Oregon Ducks," 20 Apr. 2018 Passengers have complimented Southwest in the past for its cheap drink prices. Dawn Gilbertson, USA TODAY, "Southwest Airlines raises in-flight drink prices," 28 Feb. 2018

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.

See More

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

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

Verb

see compliment entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about compliment

Share compliment

Statistics for compliment

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for compliment

The first known use of compliment was in 1598

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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 \

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 \
complimented; complimenting

Kids Definition of compliment (Entry 2 of 2)

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on compliment

What made you want to look up compliment? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

amusing and light sparring with words

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!