What does Complisult mean?

A compliment that is also an insult

A complisult is a clever blend of a compliment and an insult. It’s when someone praises you but also throws in a slight dig. For instance, if someone tells you, “You look great in this picture. I hardly recognized you!” that’s a complisult.

The term ‘complisult’ is a mash-up of ‘compliment’ and ‘insult’, and it’s often used to describe what’s also known as a ‘backhanded compliment’. The person dishing out the complisult might mean to hurt your feelings, or they might do it unintentionally.

Imagine a situation where a friend, who is a tad bit envious of your new apartment, throws a complisult your way. You know they did it on purpose. Or consider a well-meaning aunt who often says the wrong thing. She might give you a complisult about your baking skills. This is also known as ICE (Invidious Comparison Eating).

Example for using ‘Complisult’ in a conversation

Hey, I just got a new haircut. What do you think?

Wow! Your new haircut makes you look so different, it’s hard to believe it’s you.

Haha, that’s a complisult if I’ve ever heard one!

Oops, didn’t mean to! I do like the haircut though.