Definition of compliment in English:


Line breaks: com|pli|ment


Pronunciation: /ˈkɒmplɪm(ə)nt


Pronunciation: /ˈkɒmplɪmɛnt
[with object] Back to top  


compliments of the season

Used as a seasonal greeting at Christmas or the New Year.
More example sentences
  • I wish everyone the best of luck and compliments of the season during the upcoming Christmas.
  • In return, their companies' logos will appear in a full-page advertisement in The Sunday Business Post on December 21, wishing their clients the compliments of the season.
  • She thanked everyone for providing such lovely entertainment and wished everyone the compliments of the season.

pay one's compliments

Send or express formal greetings: a gentleman stopped, eager to pay his compliments
More example sentences
  • A sizable crowd turned out in glorious weather conditions to pay their compliments to the small band of volunteers who had seen the six-year project bear fruit.
  • When the gun carriage itself comes past we will present arms to pay our compliments to the Queen Mother and other members of the Royal Family travelling behind the coffin.

return the compliment

Give a compliment in return for another.
More example sentences
  • Paul compliments me on my dancing and I return the compliment: ‘well, that was a great groove.’
Retaliate or respond in kind: she eyed me warily, and I returned the compliment
More example sentences
  • There's no chance of them doing me any favours, so I have every intention of returning the compliment if I get the chance.
  • At the welcome party local schoolchildren performed a concert much to the appreciation of the Bolivians, who in turn returned the compliment by performing a number of musical pieces.
  • I was invited to their school and I returned the compliment by inviting them to the Commons.

with one's compliments

Used to express the fact that what one is giving is free: all drinks will be supplied with our compliments
More example sentences
  • Please accept this free copy of The Word Among Us magazine with my compliments.
  • We were very sorry to hear about the theft and we were happy to give them a replacement with our compliments and hope that they have a very merry Christmas.
  • The winner will receive, with our compliments, an incredible week-long holiday in a luxury villa in sunkissed Marbella.


mid 17th century: from French compliment (noun), complimenter (verb), from Italian complimento 'fulfilment of the requirements of courtesy', from Latin complementum 'completion, fulfilment' (reflected in the earlier English spelling complement, gradually replaced by the French form between 1655 and 1715).


Compliment (together with complimentary) is quite different in meaning from complement (and complementary). See complement (usage).

More definitions of compliment

Definition of compliment in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day tortie
Pronunciation: ˈtɔːtiː
a tortoiseshell cat