What is the difference between complement and compliment?

Complement – that which completes/adds to/augments


  • The ship now has its full complement
  • We currently have a full complement of staff.

Verb (to add to in a favourable way)

  • These shoes greatly complement the outfit.
  • The speech was complemented by jokes in the right places.
  • This sauce complements fish and chicken.

Compliment – polite praise


  • He paid her compliments every day.
  • The boss paid me an enormous compliment when she endorsed my project.


  • He complimented her every day.
  • The boss complimented me with her endorsement.


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Michael Jones - Senior Editor - bridger-jones.com

Michael Jones – Senior Editor

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