The words compliment and complement are homophones and have the exact same sounds. They are both used as verbs and nouns but their meanings are distinct. Since both of these words run in similar circles and are utilized when some sort of admiration is being offered so you need to look out for their correct meanings or you might end up confusing them for one another.
They originate from a common Latin word complete. The word compliment means to commend something or offer praise and the word complement means to complete. Remember, in complement, a thing is doing the completing and the sentence is used to offer praise or acclaim something.
Compliment vs complement – definitions and meanings
Definition of compliment
Compliment as a noun means a polite expression or remark. As a verb, it is used when you’re trying to admire or acclaim someone. You can compliment someone with your words or actions. But, compliments might not always be favorable. Compliments are meant to improve someone’s mood and offer praise, but if there are wrong intentions behind giving them then they can also be impolite, fake or insincere.
Example sentences of compliment
- Compliment as a verb: Most managers compliment their employees for achieving small milestones to boost employee morale.
This sentence talks about how successful employees give positive remarks to their workforce as a strategy to boost confidence in their employees so that they can maximize the company’s productivity.
- Compliment as a noun: The servant of the Mistress nodded at the compliment and left the room.
A compliment or remark was given to the servant by the mistress and in return, the servant nodded reverently.
- Compliment as a verb: Complimenting each other regularly can improve marital relations radically.
This sentence looks like it came from a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT). It advises couples to give positive compliments or praise each other regularly to improve their married life.
Definition of complement
The verb complement means to complete, enhance or to make something seamless and perfect. As a noun, it is the thing that is doing the enhancing or completing.
Example sentences of complement
- Complement as a noun: His tie color is a perfect complement to his suit.
The talker is praising someone’s attire. He’s saying that the color of his tie perfectly completes his suit to create a trendy look.
- Compliment as a noun: A leafy green salad, with chopped apple and onion, is a perfect complement to a meaty dish.
This sentence gives recipe advice for people looking to supplement meaty dishes or trying to make nutrient-rich meals for their family. A leafy salad is the right option when you’re trying to complete or enrich a meaty dish.
- Compliment as a verb: The gentleman remarked. ‘Your turquoise dress complements your eyes perfectly.’
In everyday life, complement is a heart-winning word. In this sentence the talker is praising the woman and saying that her dress completes or brings out the color of her eyes.
You might have noticed that compliment and complement, both are used to impress or flatter someone. As a rule of thumb, remember that complement is associated with completion and has a similar spelling. Moreover, compliment means a positive remark, so if you’re trying to win someone over, ease their discomfort or make them happier, you would want to compliment them.