Definition of complementary in English:



  • 1Combining in such a way as to enhance or emphasize the qualities of each other or another.

    ‘three guitarists playing interlocking, complementary parts’
    ‘Internet technology is actually complementary to traditional technologies’
    • ‘Its economies are complementary to each other, leaving ample room for exchanges and representing common interests either bilaterally or on an international level to further a free system of trade.’
    • ‘Its champions, however, see it, not just as complementary to the earlier emphasis on whole organisms but as a new gospel which ought to replace it.’
    • ‘We focus on the mainstream retail clients, so the two businesses are complementary to each other.’
    • ‘The arm sequences flanking either side of the probe are complementary to each other but are unrelated to the target sequence.’
    • ‘This type of situation would appear to present two problems which are complementary to each other.’
    • ‘More recently, however, the two programmes are adopting approaches that are becoming more complementary to each other with enormous scope for learning from each other's experience.’
    • ‘While discovery and choice compete as the basis of identity, knowledge and choice are essentially complementary to each other.’
    • ‘The two industries are complementary to each other and therefore are not in any direct competition.’
    • ‘It is true that he was responsible for the technical side of this project, but creatively, and on a production level, both felt they were very complementary to each other.’
    • ‘As this passage suggests, the argument he is about to undertake is different from, and complementary to, the previous argument concerning the non-contractual aspects of contract.’
    • ‘The technologies are complementary to each other, so there is no automatic choice.’
    • ‘However, they work by mechanisms that are completely different and yet complementary to the use of salvia.’
    • ‘Section five deals with various points of view of the religions and how they are supplementary and complementary to each other.’
    • ‘These two approaches are likely to be complementary to each other.’
    • ‘The top exponents of this system are experts in grappling and knowledge of this skill would be very complementary to any martial art.’
    • ‘Instead of serving dishes in courses, a Thai meal is served all at once, permitting dinners to enjoy complementary combinations of different tastes.’
    • ‘We are hoping that whoever comes forward will provide the town with a building which is complementary to the style of the remainder of the Pier Hill redevelopment.’
    • ‘In so doing, general practitioners have shown that the intellectual framework within which they operate is different from, complementary to, but no less demanding than that of specialists.’
    • ‘But what if we imagined an entirely different developmental model (or at least one complementary to that of traditional scholarship)?’
    • ‘All three modalities are complementary to each other and can be used alone or in combination.’
    harmonizing, harmonious, complementing, supportive, supporting, reciprocal, interdependent, interrelated, compatible, corresponding, matching, twin
    completing, finishing, perfecting
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Biochemistry (of gene sequences, nucleotides, etc.) related by the rules of base pairing.
      • ‘We report unbinding force measurements between complementary strands of DNA as a function of temperature.’
      • ‘The DNA samples were denatured after irradiation, a primer was annealed to one of the strands, and a complementary strand was constructed using a polymerase enzyme.’
      • ‘There is no clear correlation between transitions in consecutive positions or on complementary strands of the DNA at the same positions, and both cases have been observed.’
      • ‘The bottom strand of the substrate is the complementary sequence of the top strand.’
      • ‘By using complementary sequences of DNA molecules that were attached to different nanocrystals, small groupings of gold nanocrystals could be formed.’
      • ‘Specific genes are then identified and quantified by hybridization to a labelled DNA probe of a complementary sequence.’
  • 2[attributive] Relating to complementary medicine.

    ‘complementary therapies such as aromatherapy’
    • ‘The aim was to assess the effectiveness of any type of complementary therapy for peripheral arterial disease.’
    • ‘This major set of experiences were key to me exploring various complementary therapies and to my awakening to the spiritual or ‘energy’ nature of all things.’
    • ‘It offers a range of complementary therapies such as aromatherapy massage, acupuncture, arts and crafts, drama and music.’
    • ‘These facts have led many patients to seek symptom relief through the use of alternative and/or complementary therapies.’
    • ‘What else can we say about modern medicine and complementary therapies?’
    • ‘As complementary medicine grows the public may become more careful of its claims.’
    • ‘He has been interested in self-development and complementary therapies since 1995.’
    • ‘Reasoning is not the only area in which many commentators on complementary and alternative medicine discard their usual rigour: this is also evident, less excusably, over basic facts.’
    • ‘Melissa has been studying and exploring a wide range of complementary therapies over the past seven years.’
    • ‘The most popular complementary therapies among participants were Diet, Herbalism, Homeopathy and Aromatherapy.’
    • ‘Other forms of complementary therapy include acupuncture and chiropractic care.’
    • ‘Neil is a senior lecturer at two leading complementary therapy colleges and has two busy homeopathic practices.’
    • ‘For this reason, many people turn to complementary therapies such as homeopathy, acupuncture and herbal remedies.’
    • ‘She is based in Worcestershire and travels internationally sharing her knowledge from her nine years experience of complementary therapies in both private practice and the NHS.’
    • ‘Most of the complementary therapies at our disposal have been around for millennia.’
    • ‘Lynn sees reflexology as a complementary treatment, as opposed to alternative.’
    • ‘Experts in three complementary and alternative medicine disciplines, acupuncture, massage therapy, and chiropractic, will also speak.’
    • ‘Prior to the study, volunteers completed medical history questionnaires and reported experiences of other complementary therapy.’
    • ‘The proposal that complementary health practitioners be certified has been referred to state governments.’
    • ‘The book tidily covers an introduction to many complementary and alternative medical therapies in a highly readable format.’