Also found in: Thesaurus, Legal.


1. A feeling of contentment or self-satisfaction, especially when coupled with an unawareness of danger, trouble, or controversy.
2. An instance of contented self-satisfaction.


(kəmˈpleɪsənsɪ) or


n, pl -cencies or -cences
1. a feeling of satisfaction, esp extreme self-satisfaction; smugness
2. an obsolete word for complaisance


(kəmˈpleɪ sən si)

also com•pla•cence


n., pl. -cies.
a feeling of quiet pleasure or security, often while unaware of, or unconcerned with, unpleasant realities or harmful possibilities; self-satisfaction; smugness.
[1635–45; < Medieval Latin]



look like the cat that swallowed the canary To look smug; to appear very self-satisfied or pleased. This self-evident expression has been in use since 1871.

resting on one’s laurels To be content with one’s present or past honors, accomplishments, or prestige. The laurels in this expression have long been a symbol of excellence or success in one’s field of endeavor. Resting indicates self-satisfaction and complacency with the implication that no further efforts will be expended to acquire additional figurative laurels. It is interesting to note that ancient philosophers and poets sometimes kept laurel leaves under their pillows for inspiration, a concept almost totally opposite to the phrase’s contemporary meaning.

snug as a bug in a rug Extremely comfortable and content. This common expression of obvious derivation was purportedly used by Benjamin Franklin in 1772. The phrase enjoys frequent use in the United States.

ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.complacency - the feeling you have when you are satisfied with yourself; "his complacency was absolutely disgusting"
satisfaction - the contentment one feels when one has fulfilled a desire, need, or expectation; "the chef tasted the sauce with great satisfaction"
smugness - an excessive feeling of self-satisfaction


noun smugness, satisfaction, gratification, contentment, self-congratulation, self-satisfaction She warned that there was no room for complacency on inflation.
رِضا ذاتي، إعْجاب بالنَّفْس


[kəmˈpleɪsənsɪ] N complacence [kəmˈpleɪsns] Nautosuficiencia f, satisfacción f de sí mismo or consigo


[kəmˈpleɪsənsi] n
(= self-satisfaction) [person] → autosatisfaction f, suffisance f
(= failure to recognize problems) → complaisance f
complacency about sth → complaisance f à l'égard de qch


[kəmˈpleɪsnsɪ] nautocompiacimento, eccessivo compiacimento


(kəmˈpleisnt) adjective
showing satisfaction with one's own situation. a complacent attitude.
comˈplacence, comˈplacency noun
comˈplacently adverb
References in classic literature ?
Edna could not control a feeling which bordered upon complacency at her friend's praise, even realizing, as she did, its true worth.
The scout witnessed his departure with complacency, nodding his head after him, and muttering his good wishes; after which he very coolly set about an examination of the state of the larder, among the Hurons, the cavern, among other purposes, being used as a receptacle for the fruits of their hunts.
While the latter expression was yet on his lips, he caught a glimpse of Hepzibah, who had involuntarily bent forward to the window; and then the smile changed from acrid and disagreeable to the sunniest complacency and benevolence.
Shelby, who, with a little womanly complacency in match-making, felt pleased to unite her handsome favorite with one of her own class who seemed in every way suited to her; and so they were married in her mistress' great parlor, and her mistress herself adorned the bride's beautiful hair with orange-blossoms, and threw over it the bridal veil, which certainly could scarce have rested on a fairer head; and there was no lack of white gloves, and cake and wine,--of admiring guests to praise the bride's beauty, and her mistress' indulgence and liberality.
The Grandson of twenty-three referred to himself five or six times as an "old traveler,"and as many as three times (with a serene complacency which was maddening) as a "man of the world.
Under the inspiration of her soaring complacency the departed graces of her earlier days returned to her, and her bearing took to itself a dignity and state that might have passed for queenly if her surroundings had been a little more in keeping with it.
She saw with maternal complacency all the impertinent encroachments and mischievous tricks to which her cousins submitted.
Captain Wragge received that unconscious tribute to his native genius with the complacency of a man who felt that he thoroughly deserved it.
Here and there, the inmate has visitors to see the sight; then he points his finger, with something of the complacency of a curator or authorised exponent, to this cart and to this, and seems to tell who sat here yesterday, and who there the day before.
When we got into the street (which was strange enough to me) and smelt the fish, and pitch, and oakum, and tar, and saw the sailors walking about, and the carts jingling up and down over the stones, I felt that I had done so busy a place an injustice; and said as much to Peggotty, who heard my expressions of delight with great complacency, and told me it was well known (I suppose to those who had the good fortune to be born Bloaters) that Yarmouth was, upon the whole, the finest place in the universe.
Once more, he took me by both hands and surveyed me with an air of admiring proprietorship: smoking with great complacency all the while.
Silas was thinking with double complacency of his supper: first, because it would be hot and savoury; and secondly, because it would cost him nothing.