\ \ [17] Complaisant and complacent [17] are virtual doublets. Both come from Latin complacēreplease greatly’ (a compound verb formed from placēre, source of English please), but they reached English along different routes. Complaisant came via French, from complaisant, the present participle of complairegratify’, but complacent was a direct borrowing from the Latin present participle. It originally meant simply ‘pleasant, delightful’, and did not take on its present derogatory connotations (at first expressed by the now obsolete complacential) until the mid 18th century.

Word origins - 2ed. . 2005.


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  • complaisant — complaisant, ante [ kɔ̃plɛzɑ̃, ɑ̃t ] adj. • 1556; de complaire 1 ♦ Qui a de la complaisance (envers autrui). ⇒ aimable, empressé, obligeant, 1. poli, prévenant, serviable. Être, se montrer complaisant pour, envers qqn. Vous n êtes pas très… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • complaisant — COMPLAISANT, ANTE. adj. Qui a de la complaisance pour les autres. Un homme complaisant. Un esprit doux et complaisant. Humeur complaisante.Complaisant, est aussi substantif. Et dans cette acception l on dit, qu Un homme n aime que les… …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie Française 1798

  • complaisant — complaisant, ante (kon plè zan, zan t ) adj. 1°   Qui a de la complaisance ou des complaisances.... •   S il m eût vaincu, votre esprit complaisant Lui faisait de ma tête un semblable présent, CORN. Pomp. III, 2. •   Et, comme c est m aimer que… …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

  • Complaisant — Com plai*sant, a. [F. complaisant, p. pr. of complaire to acquiesce as a favor, fr. L. complacere. See {Complacent}.] Desirous to please; courteous; obliging; compliant; as, a complaisant gentleman. [1913 Webster] There are to whom my satire… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • complaisant — Complaisant, [complais]ante. adj. v. Qui a de la complaisance pour les autres. Un homme complaisant. un esprit doux & complaisant. humeur complaisante …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • complaisant — 1640s, from Fr. complaisant (16c.), in M.Fr., pleasing, prp. of complaire acquiesce to please, from L. complacere be very pleasing (see COMPLACENT (Cf. complacent), with which it overlapped till mid 19c.). Possibly influenced in French by O.Fr.… …   Etymology dictionary

  • complaisant — index complacent, obedient, obeisant, permissive, yielding Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • complaisant — obliging, good natured, *amiable Analogous words: affable, genial, cordial, *gracious: courteous, courtly, gallant, polite, *civil: *suave, urbane, politic, diplomatic, smooth, bland: agreeable, *pleasant, pleasing Antonyms: contrary, perverse …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • complaisant — [adj] agreeable accommodating, amiable, compliant, conciliatory, deferential, easy, easy going, friendly, generous, good humored, good natured, good tempered, indulgent, lenient, mild, obliging, polite, solicitous, submissive; concept 401 Ant.… …   New thesaurus

  • complaisant — ► ADJECTIVE ▪ willing to please others or to accept their behaviour without protest. DERIVATIVES complaisance noun. ORIGIN French, from Latin complacere to please …   English terms dictionary

  • complaisant — [kəm plā′zənt, kəm plāsənt; ] also [ käm′plə zant΄] adj. [Fr, prp. of complaire < L complacere: see COMPLACENT] willing to please; affably agreeable; obliging complaisantly adv …   English World dictionary

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