What's a word that means two things work together and add to each other to make them better? I have a specific word that I want in the back of my mind but I can't remember what it is.

  • It's not "collaborate"...
    – user18028
    Mar 10, 2015 at 14:52
  • 1
    No not synergy either... Let's see if I can rephrase to make it easier to come up with the word... Two things are different, but they both contribute to the same goal. Together they get at the truth and attain the goal.
    – user18028
    Mar 10, 2015 at 15:07
  • Compatible, harmonious, in-sync, cooperative, isomorphic, paired? Even if it's not the word you're looking for, synergy is perfect for what you've defined. It literally means "when something is greater than the sum of its parts".
    – Mark
    Mar 10, 2015 at 15:25
  • 1
    do you mean "complement/complementary"?
    – Gary
    Mar 10, 2015 at 15:32
  • How about symbiosis?
    – ssav
    Mar 10, 2015 at 16:24

2 Answers 2


My first thought was complement, but Gary beat me to it. This would particularly apply to the usage of "providing all that is necessary to make a whole".

If not that, I suggest reinforce, in the sense of "to strengthen, by adding materials", but applied to something other than physical objects.


Are you thinking of symbiotic/symbiosis?

  • 3
    Welcome to ELL! I think that you have the start of a good answer here, but that it needs more explanation. The way it's written, it reads more like a comment than an answer. An answer doesn't have to be exactly what the asker had in mind; maybe your idea is actually a more precise word. I think if you explained why symbiotic is a good choice, this could be a great answer.
    – ColleenV
    Mar 10, 2015 at 17:12
  • Be confident! Your answer sounds like you're trying to guess what user18028 is thinking of, but you should just suggest some good words that fit the meaning. Quotations from and links to dictionary definitions are a big help. Mar 11, 2015 at 6:18
  • @EsotericScreenName - When I see an answer like this, I often wonder if the O.P. tried to type a one- or two-word answer, ran into the minimum character requirement, and then simply couched it in the form of a question to get past the character count minimum. That said, you've given the correct advice; instead of putting it in the form of a question, a copied (and properly cited) dictionary definition is far better. A usage taken from a book or news article could boster an answer even more. Sometimes it takes awile for newer users to become accustmoed to the "Stack Exchange way."
    – J.R.
    Mar 14, 2015 at 10:42

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