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

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 The M1-powered MacBook Pro, Air, and mini have been widely praised for their performance and efficiency, with Intel delivering the ultimate compliment. Chris Smith, BGR, "Apple is a few innovations away from putting the M1 chip inside the iPhone," 21 Apr. 2021 Afterward, West offered to donate $10 million to the project, which Turrell, who has received many more offers than actual donations over the years, regarded as a compliment, but little more. Smithsonian Magazine, "In the Arizona desert, James Turrell is creating one of the most ambitious artworks in American history. Here’s an exclusive look," 20 Apr. 2021 There was a time, not so long ago, when to describe a television show as Dickensian was to pay it the highest possible compliment. Judy Berman, Time, "Joss Whedon's Confusing, Overcrowded The Nevers Indulges in the Laziest Habits of TV's Dickens Obsession," 9 Apr. 2021 Rapper Cash's album sounds like a relic; consider that the highest compliment. Piet Levy, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "12 top Milwaukee songs and albums for December: REYNA, Peter Mulvey and SistaStrings, Wave Chapelle and more," 5 Apr. 2021 Loyola coach Parker Moser paid the ultimate compliment to Oregon State. oregonlive, "With a Final Four in sight, Oregon State braces for a week rivaling the school’s 2001 Fiesta Bowl run," 27 Mar. 2021 Afterward, former NBA MVP Harden credited the Mavericks’ team play and paid Doncic the ultimate compliment when asked whether his and Doncic’s games are similar. Dallas News, "After Luka Doncic’s last game as a 21-year-old, Nets guard and ex-MVP James Harden says ‘the Mavs got a special one’," 28 Feb. 2021 To Long, the highest compliment to her and Easterling’s work is the number of clients who return for a refresh 10, even 20 or 30 years after an initial job. House Beautiful, "Atlanta Designer Nina Nash Long Is Making Timeless Interiors Feel Fresh," 19 Feb. 2021 This was intended as a compliment, given that Warriors guard Stephen Curry is a generational player who revolutionized the NBA and spearheaded a dynasty. Connor Letourneau, San Francisco Chronicle, "How Damian Lillard got people discussing whether he's better than Steph Curry," 2 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Hinch wants more sliders and curveballs to compliment his fastball, thus getting ahead early in counts. Evan Petzold, Detroit Free Press, "Now in hybrid role, here's what Detroit Tigers' Tarik Skubal is working to solve," 23 Apr. 2021 Another former student, Amelia Ward, said Bailey went out of his way to compliment her, asking her to stay after school when there was no apparent reason. Hillel Italie, USA TODAY, "Publisher pauses release of 'Philip Roth: The Biography' after allegations against author," 21 Apr. 2021 From the 1960s through the aughts, this American’s louche designs propelled the idea that an outfit should compliment the woman—not the other way around. Katharine K. Zarrella, WSJ, "From Jackie O to Rihanna, the Ultimate Guide to Classic Style," 21 Dec. 2020 Before the restaurant shut down in March 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, Lewis worked closely with chef Ryan Swanson to pick wines to compliment each dish. Tirion Morris, The Arizona Republic, "This Arizona sommelier is battling cancer. Here's how the community stepped up to help," 30 Mar. 2021 Dru Baker extended his hitting streak to ten games, including a four-hit outing on Saturday to compliment Patrick Monteverde’s scoreless seven innings of work. Dallas News, "How Texas’ collegiate baseball teams fared this week: TCU, UT, A&M record conference series wins," 29 Mar. 2021 The Dolphins need to find an edge player to compliment, or potentially replace Emmanuel Ogbah after this upcoming season, and Rousseau has the length, speed, power and fast-twitchiness that indicates he’s scheme diverse. Omar Kelly, sun-sentinel.com, "Omar Kelly’s first-round 2021 NFL mock draft: Who will Dolphins select at picks 6 and 18?," 29 Mar. 2021 Loosening capacity requirements could be possible coupled with proper social distancing and will be considered in response to any decision made, or to compliment any decision made. Amy Lavalley, chicagotribune.com, "Gov. Holcomb adjustment to Indiana mask advisory leaves health professionals, others questioning if announcement is premature," 24 Mar. 2021 This ‘vertical garden’ has been designed to ‘interact’ with the façade of the building as well as compliment his original vertical planting designs found on the hotel – and named ‘Miroir Vert du Lac’. Angelina Villa-clarke, Forbes, "Patricia Urquiola Returns To Lake Como With A ‘Masterclass’ In Design," 10 Mar. 2021

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

28 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Compliment.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/compliment. Accessed 9 May. 2021.

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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

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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