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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 complacently
Contemporary Examples
  • Instead he complacently believed that because the Federal Reserve had defeated inflation, all was well with the economy.

Historical Examples
  • Pretty well, I think, for a beginner, remarked Mr. Bolter complacently.

  • "That is precisely what I imagined," answered the count, complacently.

    Fairy Fingers Anna Cora Mowatt Ritchie
  • "I am recompensed for the trouble I took in changing my dress this evening," said Elizabeth, glancing down at it complacently.

    Under False Pretences Adeline Sergeant
  • "It's this yer 'ozone' in the air that Dr. Duchesne talks about," said Seth complacently.

  • How complacently, as far as I was able, did I then look around upon my surviving friends!

  • "Things may not be as bad as they seem," answered Crownwall complacently.

    Upstarts L. J. Stecher
  • "We'll git the rest of the day off," remarked Casey, complacently.

    The U.P. Trail Zane Grey
  • "Oh well, they'd turn her head here if it wasn't for me," answered the other complacently.

    Jewel Clara Louise Burnham
  • "When I lose them, 'twill be time enough to lament them," said she, complacently.

    Judith Shakespeare William Black
British Dictionary definitions for complacently


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 complacently



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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