Difference between Compliment and Complement

Difference between Compliment and Complement

Compliment and complement are homophones, which means that they have the same pronunciation but different spellings and meanings. The words compliment and complement are highly confusing homonyms, not only because of their pronunciation, but their spelling is also nearly the same, due to which we end up using them incorrectly. Compliment can be either a verb or noun that relates to praising someone or saying something nice about someone.

However, their meaning is very different, and so we should apply these words intelligently especially in written English, or else, the entire message will be misinterpreted. When someone gives you a positive comment, it is known as a compliment. Complement can also be either a noun or a verb. It relates to something that completes another thing, or something that goes well with another thing. On the other hand, when two things appear or perform better together, i.e. when something goes well with another one, we use the word complement.

Difference between Compliment and Complement


  • Compliment refers to a positive and polite remark, nice words or gestures, that praises or motivates someone.
  • A compliment is anything pleasant said by you in order to make someone feel good.
  • A compliment is a word, act, or circumstance, that expresses gratefulness, acknowledgment, or honor to someone.
  • The compliment is a formal way of showing gratitude, good wishes, thanks or respect to a person.
  • As a noun, the word ‘compliment’ refers to a courteous expression of praise and appreciation. On the other hand, as a verb, we use the word ‘compliment’ for courteously congratulating or appreciating a person for his achievement or performance.
  • The adjective form of the word compliment is complimentary, which reflects two meanings, i.e. either it means expressing a compliment, or it refers to providing or supplying something to free of cost.
  • Examples: The client has sent a greeting card and bouquet as a compliment. These curtains complement the wall, better than that one.


  • Complement refers to something that goes side by side or adds something to the features of another.
  • The word ‘complement’ can be used both as a noun and a verb, which causes something to appear/to work better and indeed more appealing or effective when united with another.
  • Complement refers to anything that fills up the lacking, i.e. something that completes another. It indicates counterparts, i.e. one of the two parts which enhance the value of the other when they are together.
  • Complement is something that completes another or brings near to perfection.
  • Complement refers to complete or improve the looks or quality in something, by providing what it requires. Meaning that it contributes additional features to another thing such that its quality is emphasized or brings it to perfection.
  • When complement is changed into the adjective form, it becomes complementary which reflects that the quality and the effectiveness of two things which are combined are more as compared to their quality and effectiveness when they are taken as individual units.
  • Examples: The compliments and criticism of the novel are taken graciously by the author. Pizza and cold drinks are perfect complements.