[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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  • Complementarity-principle

    noun, Physics. 1. the principle that experiments on physical systems of atomic size or smaller, as electrons or photons, can exhibit either particle or wave behavior but not both simultaneously.

  • Complementary air

    complementary air com·ple·men·ta·ry air (kŏm’plə-měn’tə-rē, -trē) n. See inspiratory capacity.

  • 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.

  • Complementary-cells

    plural noun, Botany. 1. cells fitting closely together in the lenticel.

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