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[kuh m-pley-suh nt] /kəmˈpleɪ sənt/
pleased, especially with oneself or one's merits, advantages, situation, etc., often without awareness of some potential danger or defect; self-satisfied:
The voters are too complacent to change the government.
pleasant; complaisant.
Origin of complacent
1650-60; < Latin complacent- (stem of complacēns, present participle of complacēre to take the fancy of, please, equivalent to com- com- + placēre to please
Related forms
complacently, adverb
noncomplacent, adjective
noncomplacently, adverb
overcomplacent, adjective
overcomplacently, adverb
uncomplacent, adjective
uncomplacently, adverb
Can be confused
complacent, complaisant, compliant.
1. smug, unbothered, untroubled. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for complacent
  • Give people too little to pay attention to and they'll become complacent.
  • When children are docile and complacent, teachers are happy.
  • Taxi companies, complacent after decades of government coddling, have resisted entering into fare wars.
  • There is the beloved monarch, magnanimous and complacent.
  • If history is any guide, thinking that no such revolution will be wrought again is complacent-and probably wrong.
  • On the way up, macroeconomists were not wholly complacent.
  • Most countries have been complacent about guarding information infrastructure.
  • Perhaps they made investors too complacent toward risk.
  • Nevertheless, it would be wrong-and complacent-to suppose that failure would be costless.
  • But it cannot afford to be complacent, for three reasons.
British Dictionary definitions for complacent


pleased or satisfied, esp extremely self-satisfied
an obsolete word for complaisant
Derived Forms
complacently, adverb
Word Origin
C17: from Latin complacēns very pleasing, from complacēre to be most agreeable to, from com- (intensive) + placēre to please
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 complacent

1650s, "pleasing," from Latin complacentem (nominative complacens) "pleasing," present participle of complacere "be very pleasing" (see complacence). Meaning "pleased with oneself" is from 1767. Related: Complacently.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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