From zikkir
Jump to: navigation, search


File:Venn B minus A.png
The relative complement of A in B


From Latin complementum (that which fills up or completes) < complere (to fill up, complete).



Complement (plural Complements)
  1. (now rare) Something (or someone) that completes; the consummation.
    • 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 [...].
  2. (obsolete) The act of completing something, or the fact of being complete; completion, completeness, fulfilment.
  3. The totality, the full amount or number which completes something.
    • 1851, Herman Melville, Moby-Dick:
      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 Oct 09:
      Some 11 members of Somerton council's complement of 15 stepped down on Tuesday.
  4. (obsolete) Something which completes one's equipment, dress etc.; an accessory.
    • 1603, John Florio, trans. Michel de Montaigne, Essays, I.42:
      A man should be judged by himselfe, and not by his complements.
  5. (heraldry) Fullness (of the moon).
    • 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".
  6. (astronomy, geometry) An angle which, together with a given angle, makes a right angle.
  7. 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.
    • 2009, The Guardian, 13 Dec 09:
      London's Kings Place, now one year old, established itself as a venue for imaginative programming, a complement to the evergreen Wigmore Hall.
  8. (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.
  9. (music) An interval which, together with the given interval, makes an octave.
  10. (optics) The color which, when mixed with the given color, gives black (for mixing pigments) or white (for mixing light).
    The complement of blue is orange.
  11. (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).
    The complement of the odd numbers is the even numbers, relative to the natural numbers.
  12. (immunology) One of several blood proteins that work with antibodies during an immune response.
  13. (logic) An expression related to some other expression such that it is true under the same conditions that make other false, and vice versa.
  14. (electronics) A voltage level with the opposite logical sense to the given one.
  15. (computing) A bit with the opposite value to the given one; the logical complement of a number.
  16. (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 <math>01100101_2</math> is <math>10011010_2</math>.
  17. (computing, mathematics) The radix complement of a number; the two's complement of a binary number.
    The complement of <math>01100101_2</math> is <math>10011011_2</math>.
  18. (computing, mathematics) The numeric complement of a number.
    The complement of -123 is 123.
  19. (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.
  20. Obsolete spelling of compliment.

Related terms


Complement (third-person singular simple present Complements, present participle Complementing, simple past and past participle Complemented)

  1. To complete.
    We believe your addition will complement the team.
  2. 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.
  3. To change a voltage, number, color, etc. to its complement.


A to Z, A to izzard, IC analysis, accession, accessory, accompaniment, add to, addenda, addendum, additament, addition, additive, additory, additum, adjunct, adjuvant, age group, aggregate, all, all and sundry, allowance, ally, alpha and omega, alter ego, analogon, analogue, annex, annexation, answer, answer to, appanage, appendage, appendant, appositive, appurtenance, appurtenant, assemblage, associate, attachment, attribute, attributive, augment, augmentation, bakehead, band, battalion, be-all, be-all and end-all, beginning and end, bellyful, bevy, black gang, body, boilerman, brigade, brother, bumper, bunch, bungs, cabal, cabin boy, capacity, cast, charge, chips, clique, close copy, close match, coda, coequal, cognate, cohort, commissary steward, companion, company, complete, completion, concomitant, confirmation, congenator, congener, construction modifier, consummation, contingent, continuation, coordinate, corollary, corps, correlate, correlative, correspond, correspond to, correspondent, coterie, counterpart, covey, cram, crew, crowd, crush, cutting, deckhand, deckie, deep structure, detachment, detail, direct object, division, each and every, eight, eleven, enhance, enhancement, enrichment, equivalent, everything, extension, extrapolation, faction, fellow, fill, filler, fireman, first string, first team, five, fixture, fleet, form-function unit, full house, full measure, function, gang, group, grouping, groupment, gun loader, gunner, hand, hospital steward, image, immediate constituent analysis, in-group, increase, increment, indirect object, jam up, junta, kindred spirit, lading, landing signalman, length and breadth, levels, like, likeness, load, mail orderly, makeweight, mate, mob, modifier, mouthful, movement, navigator, near duplicate, nine, object, obverse, offshoot, oiler, one and all, out-group, outfit, pack, package, package deal, parallel, party, peer group, pendant, perfect, perfection, phalanx, phrase structure, picture, platoon, posse, predicate, purser, qualifier, quorum, quota, radio operator, ranks, reciprocal, reciprocate, regiment, reinforcement, reserves, respond to, round out, roustabout, rowing crew, salon, second self, second string, second team, set, set off, shallow structure, side effect, side issue, similitude, simulacrum, sister, skinful, slot, slot and filler, snip, snips, snootful, soul mate, sparks, squad, stable, steward, stewardess, stoker, strata, string, structure, subject, such, suchlike, supplement, surface structure, syntactic analysis, syntactic structure, syntactics, syntax, tagmeme, tailpiece, tally, team, the corpus, the ensemble, the entirety, the like of, the likes of, the lot, the whole, the whole range, third string, top off, torpedoman, tribe, troop, troupe, twin, undergirding, underlying structure, varsity, watch, wing, word arrangement, word order, yeoman




See also


  • DeLone et. al. (Eds.) (1975). Aspects of Twentieth-Century Music. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall. ISBN 0130493465.