compliment

\ \ [17] Compliment and complement, so often confused, are in effect doublets. They come from the same ultimate source, Latin complēmentum, a noun derived from complērefill up, finish’ (source of English complete and accomplish). English borrowed complement direct from Latin in the 14th century in the sense ‘fulfilment, accomplishment’, and by the 16th century this had developed the more specific metaphorical meaning ‘fulfilment of the obligation of politeness’ – hence ‘polite words of praise’. But then in the 17th century came competition in the form of compliment, also meaning ‘polite words of praise’. This also came from Latin complēmentum, but along a circuitous route via Vulgar Latin *complimentum, Spanish cumplimiento, and French compliment. It gradually took over from complement in this ‘flattering’ sense, while complement went on to develop its leading current meaning, ‘counterpart’, in the 19th century.
\ \ Cf.ACCOMPLISH, COMPLEMENT, COMPLETE, COMPLY, EXPLETIVE, PLENARY, PLENTY

Word origins - 2ed. . 2005.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • compliment — [ kɔ̃plimɑ̃ ] n. m. • 1604; esp. complimiento, de cumplir con alguien « être poli envers qqn » 1 ♦ Paroles louangeuses que l on adresse à qqn pour le féliciter. ⇒ congratulation, félicitation. Faire compliment (vieilli), des compliments à qqn de… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • compliment — COMPLIMENT. s. mas. Paroles civiles, obligeantes, pleines d affection ou de respect, selon les diverses personnes et les diverses rencontres. Compliment sincère. Compliment affectueux. Compliment de remercîment. Compliment de félicitation, de… …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie Française 1798

  • compliment — COMPLIMENT. s. m. Paroles civiles, obligeantes, respectueuses, que l on dit à quelqu un selon les diverses rencontres Compliment de remerciment. compliment de conjoüissance, de condoleance. compliment bien froid, bien sec. un compliment ennuyeux …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • compliment — COMPLIMÉNT, complimente, s.n. 1. Cuvânt de laudă, de măgulire, care exprimă o atitudine prietenească, de stimă, de respect sau de consideraţie. ♢ loc. adv. Fără compliment = fără exagerare, fără gândul de a măguli; pe faţă, sincer. 2. (La pl.)… …   Dicționar Român

  • compliment — n Compliment, flattery, adulation all denote praise addressed directly to a person. A compliment is a courteous expression of commendation and may be either sincere or merely formal {in the noble dedication ... to the Duchess of Ormond we have an …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • Compliment — Com pli*ment, n. [F. compliment. It complimento, fr. comlire to compliment, finish, suit, fr. L. complere to fill up. See {Complete}, and cf. {Complement}.] An expression, by word or act, of approbation, regard, confidence, civility, or… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • compliment — ► NOUN 1) an expression of praise or admiration, either in words or by an action. 2) (compliments) formal greetings. ► VERB ▪ politely congratulate or praise. ● return the compliment Cf. ↑return the compliment …   English terms dictionary

  • Compliment — Com pli*ment, v. t. To praise, flatter, or gratify, by expressions of approbation, respect, or congratulation; to make or pay a compliment to. [1913 Webster] Monarchs should their inward soul disguise; . . . Should compliment their foes and shun… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • compliment — (n.) An act, or expression of civility, usually understood to include some hypocrisy, and to mean less than it declares [Johnson], 1570s, complement, via Fr. compliment (17c.), from It. complimento expression of respect and civility, from V.L.… …   Etymology dictionary

  • Compliment — Com pli*ment, v. i. To pass compliments; to use conventional expressions of respect. [1913 Webster] I make the interlocutors, upon occasion, compliment with one another. Boyle. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • compliment — [n] praise, flattery acclaim, acclamation, admiration, adulation, applause, appreciation, approval, blessing, bouquet*, buttering up*, cajolery, commendation, comp, confirmation, congratulations, courtesy, encomium, endorsement, eulogy, favor,… …   New thesaurus

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.