Complementary vs. Complimentary: Know the Difference
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on November 15, 2023
Complementary refers to something that completes or enhances another, while complimentary means expressing praise or being provided free of charge.
Complementary angles in geometry add up to 90 degrees, completing each other. Complimentary drinks in a restaurant are provided free as a courtesy to customers.
Complementary refers to things that complete or enhance each other effectively. Complimentary means either giving praise or something that is given for free.
A business strategy may include complementary products that enhance the value of the main product. Complimentary services, like free Wi-Fi in hotels, are offered at no extra cost.
Complementary skills in a team contribute to a well-rounded skill set. Complimentary feedback, on the other hand, involves positive, praising comments.
In art, complementary colors are those opposite each other on the color wheel, enhancing each other. Complimentary words are those that express admiration or a positive remark.
Enhancing or completing
Expressing praise or free of charge
Usage in Art
Colors that enhance each other
Products that add value to each other
Services offered for free
Skills that complete each other
Angles adding up to 90 degrees
Complementary and Complimentary Definitions
Serving to complete or enhance something.
The guitarist and drummer have complementary musical styles.
Given free of charge.
The hotel offers a complimentary breakfast to all guests.
(In mathematics) forming a complementary angle or set.
These two angles are complementary, adding up to 90 degrees.
Flattering or favorable.
The review was highly complimentary about the new restaurant.
Being complimentary to something else.
Her skills in writing are complementary to his in editing.
Intended to give praise.
His complimentary speech uplifted everyone in the room.
Acting as a complement.
The wine was complementary to the flavors of the dish.
Expressing praise or admiration.
She received complimentary remarks on her performance.
Combining in such a way to enhance or emphasize qualities of each other.
The complementary colors made the painting stand out.
Free, as a courtesy.
Guests received complimentary access to the spa.
Forming or serving as a complement; completing
Finally acquired the complementary volumes that made a whole set.
Expressing, using, or resembling a compliment
A concert that received complimentary reviews.
Offsetting mutual deficiencies or enhancing mutual strengths
"Creatures with complementary skills flourish in each other's presence" (Richard Dawkins).
Given as a courtesy at no charge
Complimentary copies of the new book.
Of or relating to complementary medicine.
In the nature of a compliment.
A complimentary remark
(Genetics) Of or relating to a group of genes that act in concert to produce a specific phenotype.
Free; provided at no charge.
(Biochemistry) Of or relating to the specific pairing of the purines and pyrimidines between strands of a DNA or an RNA molecule.
With respect to the closing of a letter, formal and professional.
(Physics) Of or relating to the hypothesis that underlying properties of entities, especially subatomic particles, may manifest themselves in mutually exclusive forms at different times, depending on the conditions of the observation, and that any physical model that describes entities in terms of one form or the other will be incomplete.
Expressive of regard or praise; of the nature of, or containing, a compliment; as, a complimentary remark; a complimentary ticket.
Acting as a complement; making up a whole with something else.
I'll provide you with some complementary notes to help you study.
The two business partners had complementary abilities: one had excellent people skills, while the other had a head for figures.
Conveying or resembling a compliment;
A complimentary remark
(genetics) Of the specific pairings of the bases in DNA and RNA.
(physics) Pertaining to pairs of properties in quantum mechanics that are inversely related to each other, such as speed and position, or energy and time. (See also Heisenberg uncertainty principle.)
A complementary colour.
(obsolete) One skilled in compliments.
An angle which adds with another to equal 90 degrees.
Serving to fill out or to complete; as, complementary numbers.
One skilled in compliments.
Either one of two chromatic colors that when mixed together give white (in the case of lights) or gray (in the case of pigments);
Yellow and blue are complementaries
Acting as or providing a complement (something that completes the whole)
Of words or propositions so related that each is the negation of the other;
`male' and `female' are complementary terms
Of or relating to or suggestive of complementation;
Interchangeable electric outlets
Repeatedly Asked Queries
How is complimentary used in hospitality?
In hospitality, complimentary often refers to services or items provided free of charge.
Can complementary be used in a business context?
Yes, it refers to products or services that enhance or complete each other in business.
How do complementary colors work?
Complementary colors are opposite each other on the color wheel and enhance each other's visual appeal.
Is a complimentary remark always positive?
Yes, complimentary remarks are meant to be positive and praising.
Can complementary apply to academic subjects?
Yes, subjects that enhance understanding of each other are considered complementary.
Is a complimentary breakfast in hotels usually elaborate?
It varies; some hotels offer a simple continental breakfast, others more elaborate options.
Is complimentary always related to being free?
Not always; it can also mean expressing praise or admiration.
What is the primary meaning of complementary?
Complementary refers to things that complete or enhance each other.
Are complimentary items in a business a form of marketing?
Yes, offering complimentary items can be a marketing strategy to enhance customer experience.
Can complementary refer to health therapies?
Yes, therapies that enhance each other's effectiveness are termed complementary.
What's the etiquette for receiving complimentary services?
It's polite to express gratitude for complimentary services, even though they are free.
What’s an example of a complimentary service?
A common example is a hotel providing complimentary Wi-Fi to guests.
Do complimentary goods in economics have the same meaning?
In economics, complimentary goods are those that are often used together, increasing demand for each other.
Is it common to receive complimentary feedback in professional settings?
Yes, complimentary feedback is common and encouraged in most professional settings.
Can people have complementary skills?
Yes, when people's skills enhance or complete each other, they are considered complementary.
Can a book and its film adaptation be complementary?
Yes, if they enhance each other’s understanding or enjoyment, they are complementary.
How do complementary angles work in geometry?
Complementary angles are two angles whose sum is 90 degrees.
Can complementary be used in fashion?
Yes, in fashion, complementary refers to colors or styles that enhance each other.
Is it common for software to be complimentary?
Yes, many companies offer complimentary versions of their software with basic features.
Can colors be both complementary and complimentary?
Colors can be complementary (enhancing each other), but not complimentary (free or praising).
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Written byShumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.