Definition of complement noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈkɒmplɪmənt//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈkɑːmplɪmənt//
    Linguistic devices
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  1. 1complement (to something) a thing that adds new qualities to something in a way that improves it or makes it more attractive
  2. 2the complete number or quantity needed or allowed We've taken our full complement of trainees this year.
  3. 3 (grammar) a word or phrase, especially an adjective or a noun, that is used after linking verbs such as be and become, and describes the subject of the verb. In some descriptions of grammar it is used to refer to any word or phrase which is governed by a verb and usually comes after the verb in a sentence. In the sentences ‘I'm angry’ and ‘He became a politician’, ‘angry’ and ‘politician’ are complements. See related entries: Linguistic devices
  4. Word Originlate Middle English (in the sense ‘completion’): from Latin complementum, from complere ‘fill up’, from com- (expressing intensive force) + plere ‘fill’. Compare with compliment.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: complement

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