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[kuh m-pley-suh n-see] /kəmˈpleɪ sən si/
noun, plural complacencies.
a feeling of quiet pleasure or security, often while unaware of some potential danger, defect, or the like; self-satisfaction or smug satisfaction with an existing situation, condition, etc.
  1. friendly civility; inclination to please; complaisance.
  2. a civil act.
Also, complacence
[kuh m-pley-suh ns] /kəmˈpleɪ səns/ (Show IPA)
Origin of complacency
1635-45; < Medieval Latin complacentia. See complacent, -cy
Related forms
noncomplacence, noun
noncomplacency, noun, plural noncomplacencies.
overcomplacence, noun
overcomplacency, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for complacency
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • But love is a complacency, and benevolence is but its effect or antecedent.

  • "It's a shame," she said, with a marked effort to subdue her own complacency.

    Miss Pat at School Pemberton Ginther
  • I think this was a very pretty speech, for a youth of twenty; and I confess I look back upon it, even now, with complacency.

    Satanstoe James Fenimore Cooper
  • He might well think with some complacency of the influence he had exerted on the world.

  • The conductor's face lost something of its complacency; in fact, it settled to a quite sober cast as the owner of it moved away.

British Dictionary definitions for complacency


noun (pl) -cencies, -cences
a feeling of satisfaction, esp extreme self-satisfaction; smugness
an obsolete word for complaisance
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for complacency

1640s, from same source as complacence but with the later form of the suffix (see -cy).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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