Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Forming or serving as a complement; completing.
  • adjective Offsetting mutual deficiencies or enhancing mutual strengths:
  • adjective Of or relating to complementary medicine.
  • adjective Genetics Of or relating to a group of genes that act in concert to produce a specific phenotype.
  • adjective Biochemistry Of or relating to the specific pairing of the purines and pyrimidines between strands of a DNA or an RNA molecule.
  • adjective 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.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Completing; supplying a deficiency; complemental.
  • In logic and mathematics, together making up a fixed whole: as, complementary angles (that is, angles whose algebraic sum is 90°). See complement of an angle, under complement.
  • Same as complimentary.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Serving to fill out or to complete.
  • adjective See under Color.
  • adjective (Math.) two angles whose sum is 90°.
  • noun obsolete One skilled in compliments.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective Acting as a complement.
  • adjective genetics Of the specific pairings of the bases in DNA and RNA.
  • adjective 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.)
  • noun A complementary colour.
  • noun obsolete One skilled in compliments.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adjective of words or propositions so related that each is the negation of the other
  • adjective acting as or providing a complement (something that completes the whole)
  • noun either one of two chromatic colors that when mixed together give white (in the case of lights) or grey (in the case of pigments)

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From complement +‎ -ary

Examples

  • The term complementary implies similarity in the main elements of character with adaptable differences.

    Practical Suggestions for Mother and Housewife

  • In general, the term complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is used to cover all the practices, other than the standard medical care techniques (or conventional methods).

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  • BETHANY MARSHALL, PSYCHOANALYST: I think she and Howard Stern are what we call complementary narcissists, meaning that they have the unique individual attributes of narcissists, but that ` s blossomed once they got together, so they feel that they ` re special, unique, above the law.

    CNN Transcript Dec 28, 2006

  • Like many other practices that we label complementary or alternative medicine, ayurveda has not received conventional medicine's warm embrace.

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  • The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine is a repository of information and research findings on the effectiveness of what are commonly called "complementary" treatments.

    Joseph Nowinski, Ph.D.: When Does Grief Become Mental Illness?

  • The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine is a repository of information and research findings on the effectiveness of what are commonly called "complementary" treatments.

    Joseph Nowinski, Ph.D.: When Does Grief Become Mental Illness?

  • The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine is a repository of information and research findings on the effectiveness of what are commonly called "complementary" treatments.

    Joseph Nowinski, Ph.D.: When Does Grief Become Mental Illness?

  • The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine is a repository of information and research findings on the effectiveness of what are commonly called "complementary" treatments.

    Joseph Nowinski, Ph.D.: When Does Grief Become Mental Illness?

  • I teach archaeology (another space-time discipline) through screen media in complementary ways.

    Ballardian » 'Architectures of the Near Future': An Interview with Nic Clear

  • I think you're right about opera and orchestra reviews (subscription concerts are, after all, still reviewed on deadline), but I think there's a certain complementary liveliness that comes from not having to shoehorn in a thumbs-up/thumbs-down judgement, even one on a more realistic continuum.

    Absence of Malice

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