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



    BrE BrE//ˈkɒmplɪmənt//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈkɑːmplɪmənt//
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  1. 1[countable] a remark that expresses praise or admiration of somebody to pay somebody a compliment (= to praise them for something) ‘You understand the problem because you're so much older.’ ‘I'll take that as a compliment!’ It's a great compliment to be asked to do the job. to return the compliment (= to treat somebody in the same way as they have treated you)
  2. 2compliments [plural] (formal) polite words or good wishes, especially when used to express praise and admiration My compliments to the chef! (British English) Compliments of the season! (= for Christmas or the New Year) Please accept these flowers with the compliments of (= as a gift from) the manager.
  3. Word Originmid 17th cent.: from French compliment (noun), complimenter (verb), from Italian complimento ‘fulfilment of the requirements of courtesy’, from Latin complementum ‘completion, fulfilment’ (reflected in the earlier English spelling complement, gradually replaced by the French form between 1655 and 1715).Extra examples He returned her compliment by saying how well she looked. I’ll take that as a compliment. If Mark’s wearing a suit, that’ll be a compliment to you! In a backhanded compliment she said he looked very good for his age. Please don’t misunderstand me—I meant it as a compliment. Please give my compliments to your wife. She acknowledged their compliments with a big smile. She received several compliments on her speech. She’s always fishing for compliments about her looks. The only enclosure was a formal compliments slip from the accounts department. To listen to someone is the greatest compliment you can pay. my compliments to the chef ‘You understand the problem because you’re so much older.’ ‘I’ll take that as a compliment!’ It’s a great compliment to be asked to do the job. She always paid me compliments on my hair and my clothes.Idioms
    a backhanded compliment (North American English also left-handed compliment)
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    a remark that seems to express admiration but could also be understood as an insult
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: compliment