Definify.com
Webster 1913 Edition
Complement
Com′plement
,Noun.
1.
That which fills up or completes; the quantity or number required to fill a thing or make it complete.
2.
That which is required to supply a deficiency, or to complete a symmetrical whole.
History is the
complement
of poetry. Sir J. Stephen.
3.
Full quantity, number, or amount; a complete set; completeness.
To exceed his
complement
and number appointed him which was one hundred and twenty persons. Hakluyt.
4.
(Math.)
A second quantity added to a given quantity to make it equal to a third given quantity.
5.
Something added for ornamentation; an accessory.
[Obs.]
Without vain art or curious
complements
. Spenser.
6.
(Naut.)
The whole working force of a vessel.
7.
(Mus.)
The interval wanting to complete the octave; – the fourth is the complement of the fifth, the sixth of the third.
8.
A compliment.
[Obs.]
Shak.
Arithmetical compliment of a logarithm
. See under
– Logarithm
. Arithmetical complement of a number
(Math.)
, the difference between that number and the next higher power of 10; as, 4 is the complement of 6, and 16 of 84.
– Complement of an arc
or
Complement of an angle
(Geom.)
, the difference between that arc or angle and 90°.
– Complement of a parallelogram
. (Math.)
See
– Gnomon
. In her complement
(Her.)
, said of the moon when represented as full.
Com′plement
,Verb.
T.
1.
To supply a lack; to supplement.
[R.]
2.
To compliment.
[Obs.]
Jer. Taylor.
Webster 1828 Edition
Complement
COMPLEMENT
, n.1.
Fulness; completion; whence, perfection.They as they feasted had their fill,
For a full complement of all their ill.
2.
Full quantity or number; the quantity or number limited; as, a company has its complement of men; a ship has its complement of stores.3.
That which is added, not as necessary, but as ornamental; something adventitious to the main thing; ceremony. [See Compliment.]garnished and decked in modest complement.
4.
In geometry, what remains of the quadrant of a circle, or of ninety degrees, after any arch has been taken from it. Thus if the arch taken is thirty degrees, its complement is sixty.5.
In astronomy, the distance of a star from the zenith.6.
Arithmetical complement of a logarithm, is what the logarithm wants of 10,000,000.7.
In fortification, the complement of the curtain is that part in the interior side which makes the demigorge.Definition 2023
complement
complement
See also: complément
English
Noun
complement (plural complements)
 (now rare) Something (or someone) that completes; the consummation. [from 14th c.]
 1621, Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy:
 perform all those works of mercy, which Clemens Alexandrinus calls amoris et amicitiæ impletionem et extentionem, the extent and complement of love […].
 1621, Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy:
 (obsolete) The act of completing something, or the fact of being complete; completion, completeness, fulfilment. [15th18th c.]
 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, III.5:
 And both encreast the prayse of woman kynde, / And both encreast her beautie excellent: / So all did make in her a perfect complement.
 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, III.5:
 The totality, the full amount or number which completes something. [from 16th c.]
 1851, Herman Melville, MobyDick:
 Queequeg sought a passage to Christian lands. But the ship, having her full complement of seamen, spurned his suit; and not all the King his father's influence could prevail.
 2009, The Guardian, 30 October:
 Some 11 members of Somerton council's complement of 15 stepped down on Tuesday.
 1851, Herman Melville, MobyDick:
 (obsolete) Something which completes one's equipment, dress etc.; an accessory. [16th17th c.]
 1591, Edmund Spenser, “The Teares of the Muses [The Tears of the Muses]: Polyhymnia”:
 A doleful case desires a doleful song,
 Without vain art or curious complements.
 c. 1599, William Shakespeare, The Life of Henry the Fifth, Act 2, Scene 2:
 Garnish'd and deck'd in modest complement,
 1603, John Florio, translating Michel de Montaigne, Essayes, London: Edward Blount, OCLC 946730821, I.42:
 A man should be judged by himselfe, and not by his complements.
 1591, Edmund Spenser, “The Teares of the Muses [The Tears of the Muses]: Polyhymnia”:
 (nautical) The whole working force of a vessel.
 (heraldry) Fullness (of the moon). [from 17th c.]
 1912, Allen Phoebe, Peeps at Heraldry, p.33:
 The sixth Bishop of Ely had very curious arms, for he bore both sun and moon on his shield, the sun "in his splendour" and the moon "in her complement".
 1912, Allen Phoebe, Peeps at Heraldry, p.33:
 (astronomy, geometry) An angle which, together with a given angle, makes a right angle. [from 18th c.]
 Something which completes, something which combines with something else to make up a complete whole; loosely, something perceived to be a harmonious or desirable partner or addition. [from 19th c.]
 Sir J. Stephen
 History is the complement of poetry.
 2009, The Guardian, 13 December:
 London's Kings Place, now one year old, established itself as a venue for imaginative programming, a complement to the evergreen Wigmore Hall.
 Sir J. Stephen
 (grammar) A word or group of words that completes a grammatical construction in the predicate and that describes or is identified with the subject or object. [from 19th c.]
 1988, Andrew Radford, chapter 7, in Transformational grammar: a first course, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, page 340:
 Why has our grammar broken down at this point? It is not difficult to see why. For, we have failed to make any provision for the fact that only some Verbs in English (i.e. Verbs like those italicized in (5) (a), traditionally called Transitive Verbs) subcategorize ( = ‘takeʼ) an immediately following NP Complement, whereas others (such as those italicised in (5) (b), traditionally referred to as Intransitive Verbs) do not.

 (music) An interval which, together with the given interval, makes an octave. [from 19th c.]
 (optics) The color which, when mixed with the given color, gives black (for mixing pigments) or white (for mixing light). [from 19th c.]
 The complement of blue is orange.
 (set theory) Given two sets, the set containing one set's elements that are not members of the other set (whether a relative complement or an absolute complement). [from 20th c.]
 The complement of the odd numbers is the even numbers, relative to the natural numbers.
 (immunology) One of several blood proteins that work with antibodies during an immune response. [from 20th c.]
 (logic) An expression related to some other expression such that it is true under the same conditions that make other false, and vice versa. [from 20th c.]
 (electronics) A voltage level with the opposite logical sense to the given one.
 (computing) A bit with the opposite value to the given one; the logical complement of a number.
 (computing, mathematics) The diminished radix complement of a number; the nines' complement of a decimal number; the ones' complement of a binary number.
 The complement of is .
 (computing, mathematics) The radix complement of a number; the two's complement of a binary number.
 The complement of is .
 (computing, mathematics) The numeric complement of a number.
 The complement of −123 is 123.
 (genetics) A nucleotide sequence in which each base is replaced by the complementary base of the given sequence: adenine (A) by thymine (T) or uracil (U), cytosine (C) by guanine (G), and vice versa.
 A DNA molecule is formed from two strands, each of which is the complement of the other.
 Obsolete spelling of compliment
 (Can we find and add a quotation of Shakespeare to this entry?)
Related terms
terms related to "complement"

Translations
something which complements
angle which, together with a given angle, makes a right angle


set theory: relative complement
set theory: absolute complement


expression which is true when the other is false, and vice versa

voltage level with the opposite logical sense to the given one
word or group of words completing the predicate, identified with the subject or object


bit with the opposite value to the given one

diminished radix complement of a number

radix complement of a number

interval which, together with the given interval, makes an octave

color which, when mixed with the given color, gives black

nucleotide sequence in which each base is replaced by the complementary base of the given sequence

one of several blood proteins that work with antibodies during an immune response


Verb
complement (thirdperson singular simple present complements, present participle complementing, simple past and past participle complemented)
 To complete, to bring to perfection, to make whole.
 We believe your addition will complement the team.
 To provide what the partner lacks and lack what the partner provides.
 The flavors of the pepper and garlic complement each other, giving a very rich taste in combination.
 I believe our talents really complement each other.
 To change a voltage, number, color, etc. to its complement.
 Obsolete form of compliment.
Translations
to complete

to provide what the partner lacks and lack what the partner provides

to change a voltage, number, color, etc. to its complement
See also
References
 DeLone et. al. (Eds.) (1975). Aspects of TwentiethCentury Music. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: PrenticeHall. ISBN 0130493465.