Definition of compline in English:


Pronunciation /ˈkämplin/ /ˈkɑmplɪn/


  • A service of evening prayers forming part of the Divine Office of the Western Christian Church, traditionally said (or chanted) before retiring for the night.

    ‘The 30-minute worship draws upon an Anglican prayer service from New Zealand, Lutheran or Episcopal compline, and Holden Evening Prayer.’
    • ‘I cannot be concentrating on reciting lauds and compline at church, or on private prayers at home, and at the same time fully attend to my granddaughter's emotional needs - or talk over some thorny bioethical question with my husband.’
    • ‘So begins one of my favorite prayers, from the service for compline in the Episcopal prayer book.’
    • ‘At compline, a guitar was played and the psalmody was clearly not Gregorian.’
    • ‘The rhythm of my days goes slower now: matins and lauds, vespers and compline.’
    • ‘After their meal they retire to their caves and cells for the rest of the day, emerging only to sing lauds, vespers and compline at the appointed times.’
    • ‘Later in the evening came compline, followed by the midnight office.’
    • ‘With the household interns we observe the ancient practice of fixed-hour prayer, keeping whenever possible four offices each day: morning prayers, midday prayers, vespers, and compline.’
    • ‘The final church, St Nicholas at Fyfield, was reached shortly after 4pm where the day was completed with tea followed by compline.’
    • ‘It ends 16 hours later with compline, after which the monks return to their cells for contemplation, prayer and sleep.’


Middle English from Old French complie, feminine past participle of obsolete complir ‘to complete’, from Latin complere ‘fill up’ (see complete). The ending -ine was probably influenced by Old French matines ‘matins’.