complacent


complacent
complacent, self-complacent, self-satisfied, smug, priggish are comparable when they mean feeling or showing satisfaction especially in one's own possessions, attainments, accomplishments, or virtues.
Complacent implies that a feeling of pleasure accompanies this satisfaction; it may suggest merely a sense of well-being that comes from having no complaint to make, or, at the other extreme, it may imply gloating over the success of something for which one is in some way or in some degree responsible
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Mrs. Baines laughed with the complacent ease of obesity— Bennett

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"nothing in my brain I bring" —he seems to hymn with a pious and complacent humility his freedom from intellectual baggage— Montague

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complacent when they should have been self-critical— Nevins & Commager

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Although complacent usually suggests an attitude toward oneself, it does not carry that implication so clearly that there is left no room for doubt.
For this reason self-complacent or self-satisfied is often preferred when an unequivocal or an unambiguous word is desired; both carry a strong implication either of a comparison made between oneself and others to the great disadvantage of the others or of a feeling that one can rise no higher
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all nature may be represented as groaning and travailing to produce at last her consummate masterpiece, our noble selves. There is a certain provincialism about this last assumption, characteristic of a self-complacent age— Inge

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the strong, self-complacent Luther declares . . . that "God himself cannot do without wise men"— Emerson

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no bandit fierce, no tyrant mad with pride, no caverned hermit, rests self- satisfied—Pope

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Smug usually implies a habitual self- satisfaction that arouses in some degree dislike or contempt; the term often implies both self-satisfaction and conscious respectability, and it may additionally connote narrowness or provinciality or a degree of self- righteousness
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his worldwide sympathy . . . with everything but the smug commonplace— Birrell

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a smug . . . quality . . . had crept into that stern piety— Bates

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those late Georgian days which were the smuggest known to fame— Repplier

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Priggish, like smug, is difficult to confine to any one sense or to any constant emphasis on certain implications; while it typically connotes either self-satisfaction, self-sufficiency, or self-righteousness, it usually also suggests either a more or less conscious assumption of one's own superiority or an obvious effort to live up to what one considers one's high principles or one's high ideals
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a serious, earnest lad who gave many the impression that he was priggish

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that unpromising young man with high collar and pince-nez whose somewhat priggish air of superiority infuriated most of the Democrats— Schlesinger b. 1917

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Analogous words: self-assured, self-confident, self-possessed, assured, confident (see corresponding nouns at CONFIDENCE): conceited, egotistic, egoistic (see corresponding nouns at CONCEIT): proud, vain, vainglorious (see under PRIDE n)
Contrasted words: *humble, modest: diffident, *shy

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Complacent — Com*pla cent, a. [L. complacens very pleasing, p. pr. of complacere; com + placere to please: cf. F. complaisant. See {Please} and cf. {Complaisant}.] Self satisfied; contented; kindly; as, a complacent temper; a complacent smile. [1913 Webster]… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • complacent — complacent, complaisant have the same pronunciation apart from s in the first and z in the second. Both are derived from the Latin word complacere ‘to please’. Complacent means ‘calmly confident’ and normally has unfavourable connotations, i.e.… …   Modern English usage

  • complacent — I adjective at ease, carefree, complaisant, compilable, compliant, composed, content, contented, fulfilled, gratified, peaceful of mind, placid, pleased, qui sibi placet, reposeful, resigned, satisfied, self content, self satisfied, serene, smug …   Law dictionary

  • complacent — 1650s, pleasing, from L. complacentem (nom. complacens) pleasing, prp. of complacere be very pleasing (see COMPLACENCE (Cf. complacence)). Meaning pleased with oneself is from 1767. Related: Complacently …   Etymology dictionary

  • complacent — [adj] contented conceited, confident, easy going, egoistic, egotistic, gratified, happy, obsequious, pleased, satisfied, selfassured, self contented, self pleased, selfpossessed, self righteous, self satisfied, serene, smug, unconcerned; concepts …   New thesaurus

  • complacent — ► ADJECTIVE ▪ smug and uncritically satisfied with oneself or one s achievements. DERIVATIVES complacency (also complacence) noun complacently adverb. ORIGIN from Latin complacere to please …   English terms dictionary

  • complacent — [kəm plā′sənt] adj. [L complacens, prp. of complacere, to be very pleasing < com , intens. + placere, to PLEASE] 1. satisfied; esp., self satisfied, or smug 2. affable; complaisant complacently adv …   English World dictionary

  • complacent — com|pla|cent [kəmˈpleısənt] adj [Date: 1600 1700; : Latin; Origin: , present participle of complacere to please greatly , from com ( COM ) + placere to please ] pleased with a situation, especially something you have achieved, so that you stop… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • complacent — adj. VERBS ▪ appear, be, seem, sound ▪ become, get, grow ADVERB ▪ extremely …   Collocations dictionary

  • complacent — [[t]kəmple͟ɪs(ə)nt[/t]] ADJ GRADED (disapproval) A complacent person is very pleased with themselves or feels that they do not need to do anything about a situation, even though the situation may be uncertain or dangerous. We cannot afford to be… …   English dictionary


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