Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Forming or serving as a complement; completing.
  • adj. Supplying mutual needs or offsetting mutual lacks.
  • adj. Genetics Of or relating to a group of genes that act in concert to produce a specific phenotype.
  • adj. Biochemistry Of or relating to the specific pairing of the purines and pyrimidines between strands of a DNA or an RNA molecule.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Acting as a complement.
  • adj. Of the specific pairings of the bases in DNA and RNA.
  • adj. 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.)
  • n. A complementary colour.
  • n. One skilled in compliments.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Serving to fill out or to complete.
  • n. One skilled in compliments.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

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

  • adj. of words or propositions so related that each is the negation of the other
  • adj. acting as or providing a complement (something that completes the whole)
  • n. 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 complement +‎ -ary (Wiktionary)

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?

  • 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

  • Gentiles nationwide are talking about Jews and Christmas, and not in complementary terms, either.

    Sound Politics: Oy Vey! That "War On Christmas!"

  • The reason for the lack of action otherwise: the Complaints Unit say that the impartiality (or not) of the main complementary medicine pages is outside their remit, unless there's a case to be argued for irresponsibility or potential harm.

    BBC Online and impartiality: update

  • In North America, holistic health care practices are usually called complementary and alternative medicine, sometimes referred to as CAM.

    OUR BODIES, OURSELVES

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