- an expression of praise, commendation, or admiration: A sincere compliment boosts one’s morale.
- a formal act or expression of civility, respect, or regard: The mayor paid him the compliment of escorting him.
- compliments, a courteous greeting; good wishes; regards: He sends you his compliments.
- Archaic. a gift; present.
verb (used with object)
- to pay a compliment to: She complimented the child on his good behavior.
- to show kindness or regard for by a gift or other favor: He complimented us by giving a party in our honor.
- to congratulate; felicitate: to compliment a prince on the birth of a son.
verb (used without object)
- to pay compliments.
- a remark or act expressing respect, admiration, etc
- (usually plural) a greeting of respect or regard
verb (ˈkɒmplɪˌmɛnt) (tr)
- to express admiration of; congratulate or commend
- to express or show respect or regard for, esp by a gift
“An act, or expression of civility, usually understood to include some hypocrisy, and to mean less than it declares” [Johnson], 1570s, complement, via French compliment (17c.), from Italian complimento “expression of respect and civility,” from Vulgar Latin *complire, for Latin complere “to complete” (see complete (adj.)), via notion of “complete the obligations of politeness.” Same word as complement but by a different etymological route; differentiated by spelling after 1650.
1610s, from French complimenter, from compliment (see compliment (n.)). Related: Complimented; complimenting.
see left-handed compliment; pay a compliment; return the compliment.