[kom-pluh-men-tar-i-tee] /ˌkɒm plə mɛnˈtær ɪ ti/

the quality or state of being .
noun (pl) -ties
a state or system that involves complementary components
(physics) the principle that the complete description of a phenomenon in microphysics requires the use of two distinct theories that are complementary to each other See also duality (sense 2)

1908, a term in physics, from complementary + -ity.

complementarity com·ple·men·tar·i·ty (kŏm’plə-měn-tār’ĭ-tē)

The concept that the underlying properties of entities (especially subatomic particles) may manifest themselves in contradictory forms at different times, depending on the conditions of observation; thus, any physical model of an entity exclusively in terms of one form or the other will be necessarily incomplete. For example, although a unified quantum mechanical understanding of such phenomena as light has been developed, light sometimes exhibits properties of waves and sometimes properties of particles (an example of wave-particle duality). See also uncertainty principle.


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  • Complementary air

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  • Complementary-angle

    noun, Mathematics. 1. either of two angles that added together produce an angle of 90°. noun 1. either of two angles whose sum is 90° Compare supplementary angle

  • Complementary-base

    noun, Genetics. 1. either of the nucleotide bases linked by a hydrogen bond on opposite strands of DNA or double-stranded RNA: guanine is the complementary base of cytosine, and adenine is the complementary base of thymine in DNA and of uracil in RNA.

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