• WordNet 3.6
    • v complement make complete or perfect; supply what is wanting or form the complement to "I need some pepper to complement the sweet touch in the soup"
    • n complement something added to complete or embellish or make perfect "a fine wine is a perfect complement to the dinner","wild rice was served as an accompaniment to the main dish"
    • n complement either of two parts that mutually complete each other
    • n complement a word or phrase used to complete a grammatical construction
    • n complement number needed to make up a whole force "a full complement of workers"
    • n complement a complete number or quantity "a full complement"
    • n complement one of a series of enzymes in the blood serum that are part of the immune response
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Complement A compliment.
    • Complement (Math) A second quantity added to a given quantity to make it equal to a third given quantity.
    • Complement Full quantity, number, or amount; a complete set; completeness. "To exceed his complement and number appointed him which was one hundred and twenty persons."
    • Complement Something added for ornamentation; an accessory. "Without vain art or curious complements ."
    • Complement That which fills up or completes; the quantity or number required to fill a thing or make it complete.
    • Complement That which is required to supply a deficiency, or to complete a symmetrical whole. "History is the complement of poetry."
    • Complement (Mus) The interval wanting to complete the octave; -- the fourth is the complement of the fifth, the sixth of the third.
    • Complement (Naut) The whole working force of a vessel.
    • Complement To compliment.
    • Complement To supply a lack; to supplement.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n complement Full quantity or number; full amount; complete allowance: as, the company had its complement of men; the ship had its complement of stores.
    • n complement Perfect state; fullness; completeness. Specifically, in heraldry, the condition of being full: used of the moon. The full moon, represented with human features in the disk and with surrounding rays, is blazoned as the moon in her complement.
    • n complement What is needed to complete or fill up some quantity or thing; that which anything lacks of completeness or fullness: as, the complement of an angle (which see, below).
    • n complement In music, the interval formed by the higher note and the note an octave above the lower note of a given simple interval. Thus, the complement of a third is a sixth, formed by the higher note of the third and the note an octave above the lower note of the third. The complement of a fifth is a fourth, of a fourth a fifth, etc. The complements of major and augmented intervals are respectively minor and diminished intervals, and conversely. The complement of an interval is also called its inversion (which see).
    • n complement That which is added, not as necessary, but as ornamental; an accessory; an appendage.
    • n complement Compliment: a word of the same ultimate origin and formerly of the same spelling. See compliment.
    • n complement An accomplishment.
    • complement To add a complement to; complete or fill up.
    • n complement In physiol. chem., same as alexin. See the extract.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Complement kom′ple-ment that which completes or fills up: full number or quantity:
    • v.t Complement to supplement:
    • n Complement kom′ple-ment (Shak.) politeness
    • v.t Complement (arch.) to compliment
    • ***


  • Joseph A. Schumpeter
    Joseph A. Schumpeter
    “Bureaucracy is not an obstacle to democracy but an inevitable complement to it.”
  • Joseph Stowell
    Joseph Stowell
    “Being part of an agenda beyond ourselves liberates us to complement each other rather than compete with each other.”
  • Giuseppe Mazzini
    “Constancy is the complement of all other human virtues.”
  • Jose Ortega Y Gasset
    “There may be as much nobility in being last as in being first, because the two positions are equally necessary in the world, the one to complement the other.”
  • Scott Alexander
    Scott Alexander
    “Making money is a hobby that will complement any other hobbies you have, beautifully.”
  • Horace Mann
    “Jails and prisons are the complement of schools; so many less as you have of the latter, so many more must you have of the former.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
L. complementun,: cf. F. complément,. See Complete (v. t.), and cf. Compliment
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
L. complementumcom, and plēre, to fill.


In literature:

In advance of them were the British guns, with their sadly reduced complement of gunners.
"Deeds that Won the Empire" by W. H. Fitchett
The club possessed a proper complement of officers, and their meetings went from house to house.
"The Wit and Humor of America, Volume VI. (of X.)" by Various
The expectation of the end of the world is a natural complement to the belief in periodical destructions of our globe.
"The Myths of the New World" by Daniel G. Brinton
The Consequent phrase is not merely an "addition" to the first, but is its complement and "fulfilment.
"Lessons in Music Form" by Percy Goetschius
Putting her complement into the pinnaces, they again set sail for the mouth of the Francisco River.
"On the Spanish Main" by John Masefield
It is united with the idea of God as Father, and is the complement to the message of the communion of brethren realising itself in love.
"History of Dogma, Volume 1 (of 7)" by Adolph Harnack
They were not the counterparts, but the complements of each other.
"Lights and Shadows of New York Life" by James D. McCabe
Amid all the variations with regard to the infantry, 300 horsemen formed the regular complement of the legion.
"A Smaller History of Rome" by William Smith and Eugene Lawrence
In the Anti-Corn Law movement the two speakers were the complements and correlatives of each other.
"Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 4, Part 3" by Various
The above are named: (1) The tidal air; (2) complemental air; (3) supplemental air; (4) residual air.
"Voice Production in Singing and Speaking" by Wesley Mills

In poetry:

An. Surcease your Complements, deare Rhodon,
Let empty Caskes, and hollow Cymbals speake
That ayrie language, which unworthy is
Of your reallities.
"Rhodon And Iris. Act I" by Ralph Knevet
might fairly achieve
it. As for butterflies, I can hardly conceive
of one's attending upon you, but to question
the congruence of the complement is vain, if it exists.
"To a Steam Roller" by Marianne Moore
No Dark Companion, but a sun of glory;
No fell disturber, but a bright compeer;
The shining complement that crowned the story;
The golden link that made the meaning clear.
"The Dark Companion" by James Brunton Stephens
I am in mourning for the dull, the heroic and the mad;
In the haunted nursery the child lies dead.
I mourn the hangman and his bulging complement;
I mourn the cadaver in the egg.
"An Old Lament Renewed" by Vernon Scannell
Change like twin shells, that nothing can estrange,
But ever changing never feel a change:
So grow for one another
That each may aye present
The complement
That doth fulfil the other.
"Twin-Growth" by William Cosmo Monkhouse

In news:

High Desert nature complements full moon in view from Alfalfa early Sept 1.
The deep-tanned Rusic, a mother-of-two, wore a jade green bikini which complemented her fat-free form in Miami Beach on Sunday.
In fact, it only brews one beer at a time to complement its array of other fine ales and lagers.
But with LeSean McCoy sidelined, he's been called on to complement starter Bryce Brown.
Cabernet complements hearty tailgate menu.
Carolina Ballet's ' Calder Project' complements Nasher exhibit.
The kitchen island prep area has a granite Zen vessel sink that complements the black granite countertop.
The Healthy Water Solutions coalition leaders say they hope to complement the work of federal and state agencies.
Marzipan carrots complement easy-to-make treats.
The six catches Zwinak made against Northwestern came in handy and complemented his 121-yard rushing day.
Mike Nickeas may be the frontrunner for the righty-hitting complement to Josh Thole behind the plate, but the Mets are not handing Nickeas an Opening Day roster spot yet.
Open for lunch, dinner and late-night indulgences, La Cave 's menu features an array of international influences to complement Wright's wine pairings.
It is intended to be a complement to his Ceramic Speakers.
Store.LA sells handmade furniture, wallpaper and accessories by Storey complemented by Wilkinson's ceramic vessels and handwoven pendant lamps.
Fall flavors complement chicken dish Chef's Corner with John Kachisnky of Cork.

In science:

The complement of a shy set is called a prevalent set.
Existence and homogenization of the Rayleigh-B\'enard problem
Moreover every real belongs to a small generic extension, which is complemented by a homogeneous forcing.
On the consistency of the definable tree property on \aleph_1
They are convex open sets that partition the complement V −Si∈I Hi .
Semigroups, rings, and Markov chains
Our analysis extends and complements previous work in nuclei and mesoscopic systems .
Spin Structure of Many-Body Systems with Two-Body Random Interactions
The orthogonal complement of the domain of R is M, and the orthogonal complement of the range of R is N.
A note on interpolation in the generalized Schur class