Complacent – what does it mean? Definition, synonyms, examples in sentences

What is complacent? First of all, it is an adjective, but do you know what it means? Does it only refer to people or can you use it to describe a smile or attitude? This article will provide you with some guidance. Don’t be complacent about the meaning and usage of this word before you read this text!

Complacent what does it mean definition examples in sentences collocations synonyms

Complacent – what does it mean? Definition

A complacent person is someone who is too pleased with themselves or too satisfied with their abilities or situation, so that they do not feel that any change is necessary or that they should try any harder. Complacent people feel that they do not need to do anything about a situation, even though it may be uncertain or dangerous.

Complacent – synonyms

Here are some synonyms of the word complacent that will be helpful in remembering its meaning:

  • self-satisfied,
  • content,
  • confident,
  • pleased,
  • self-righteous,
  • unconcerned,
  • smug,
  • conceited.

Complacent – collocations

Complacent is an adjective that refers to people, but not only. Very often you will see a complacent smile or attitude, you can also be complacent about someone or something. The verbs that frequently go with complacent include appear, be seem, sound, become, get or grow.

Check out the following section for some examples of complacent in use.

Complacent – examples from the literature and press

I heard Mrs. Van Hopper give her fat, complacent laugh.

Daphne Du Maurier, Rebecca

They must not be complacent about these malign threats.

“Washington Post”, Sep 23, 2022

The domestic auto industry fell into trouble in the 1970s, as complacent executives and union leaders presided over declining quality.

“Seattle Times”, Oct 9, 2020

The second was Yale’s complacent refusal to accommodate its sought-after assistant professor’s request for a promotion to associate professor.

Michael Hiltzik, Big Science

He was not sure why he had said that, perhaps to shock the redhead out of his complacent superiority.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Half of a Yellow Sun

In all, he depicts a successful but complacent industry, one that was in danger of losing its sense of artistic purpose.

“The New Yorker”, Dec 4, 2014

Written by

After graduating with a MA in English Philology, Kasia lived for almost five years in the UK facing the challenge of trying to master the intricacies of English language, which is her consuming passion. Other things she enjoys doing in her spare time are singing in a local parish band, embroidery, reading, cycling, and enjoying the outdoors with her family and friends.