Fulfill vs. Complete: What's the Difference?
"Fulfill" means to carry out or satisfy a requirement, while "Complete" means to finish or make whole.
"Fulfill" and "Complete" are two terms that share similarities in meaning but are used in distinct contexts. To "Fulfill" primarily means to meet the requirements or expectations of something, often associated with duties, promises, or goals. For instance, one might fulfill a promise or a contractual obligation. In this sense, "Fulfill" carries an undertone of satisfying an external expectation or standard.
On the other hand, "Complete" predominantly indicates the act of finishing something, ensuring it's whole or concluded. This term can be applied to tasks, projects, or any activity. When one completes a puzzle, they have put all the pieces together, ending the task. Thus, "Complete" inherently implies reaching an endpoint or conclusion.
Both "Fulfill" and "Complete" can sometimes be used interchangeably, especially when referring to tasks or duties. One can fulfill a task by meeting its requirements, or one can complete it by finishing all necessary steps. However, the nuance remains; fulfilling often emphasizes the satisfaction of requirements, while completing stresses the act of finishing.
Yet, there are instances where these terms are not interchangeable. One would say they've fulfilled a lifelong dream, not completed it. Similarly, one completes a form, not fulfills it. Recognizing these subtle differences aids in using "Fulfill" and "Complete" effectively.
To satisfy a requirement or promise
To finish or make whole
Meeting requirements or expectations
Reaching an endpoint or conclusion
Dreams, duties, promises
Tasks, projects, forms
Often used with objectives
Commonly used in the context of tasks
Satisfaction of an external standard
Conclusion or wholeness
Fulfill and Complete Definitions
To carry out a duty or promise.
He worked hard to fulfill his commitment.
Having all necessary parts, elements, or steps.
The building is now complete and open to the public.
To bring to completion or reality.
They fulfilled their vision for the project.
Having all necessary or normal parts, components, or steps; entire
A complete medical history.
A complete set of dishes.
To achieve or realize something desired.
She fulfilled her dream of becoming a doctor.
(Botany) Having all principal parts, namely, the sepals, petals, stamens, and pistil or pistils. Used of a flower.
To meet specific requirements or criteria.
The product did not fulfill the customer's expectations.
Having come to an end; concluded
The renovation of the kitchen is complete.
To bring into actuality; effect or make real
Fulfilled their promises.
Fulfilled her dream.
A complete mystery.
To do, perform, or obey (a task or order, for example); carry out.
A complete musician.
To meet (a requirement or condition); satisfy.
(Football) Caught in bounds by a receiver
A complete pass.
To satisfy, carry out, bring to completion (an obligation, a requirement, etc.).
You made a promise, son, and now you must fulfill it.
To bring to a finish or an end
She has completed her studies.
To emotionally or artistically satisfy; to develop one's gifts to the fullest.
This is the most fulfilling work I've ever done.
To make whole, with all necessary elements or parts
A second child would complete their family. Fill in the blanks to complete the form.
To obey, follow, comply with (a rule, requirement etc.).
Unfortunately, you don't fulfill the criteria for extra grants at the present time.
(Football) To throw (a forward pass) that is caught in bounds by a receiver.
(business) To package, distribute, or ship goods.
(ambitransitive) To finish; to make done; to reach the end.
He completed the assignment on time.
(archaic) To fill full; fill to the utmost capacity; fill up.
My lady is positively fulfilled of grace.
(transitive) To make whole or entire.
The last chapter completes the book nicely.
To fill up; to make full or complete.
Suffer thou that the children be fulfilled first, for it is not good to take the bread of children and give to hounds.
(poker) To call from the small blind in an unraised pot.
To accomplish or carry into effect, as an intention, promise, or prophecy, a desire, prayer, or requirement, etc.; to complete by performance; to answer the requisitions of; to bring to pass, as a purpose or design; to effectuate.
He will, fulfill the desire of them fear him.
Here Nature seems fulfilled in all her ends.
Servants must their masters' minds fulfill.
With all parts included; with nothing missing; full.
My life will be complete once I buy this new television.
She offered me complete control of the project.
After she found the rook, the chess set was complete.
Put in effect;
Carry out a task
Execute the decision of the people
He actioned the operation
Finished; ended; concluded; completed.
When your homework is complete, you can go and play with Martin.
Fulfil the requirements or expectations of
He is a complete bastard!
It was a complete shock when he turned up on my doorstep.
Our vacation was a complete disaster.
Fill or meet a want or need
In which every Cauchy sequence converges to a point within the space.
To satisfy a need or requirement.
The program fulfills a community need.
In which every set with a lower bound has a greatest lower bound.
In which all small limits exist.
In which every semantically valid well-formed formula is provable.
That is in a given complexity class and is such that every other problem in the class can be reduced to it (usually in polynomial time or logarithmic space).
Filled up; with no part or element lacking; free from deficiency; entire; perfect; consummate.
Ye are complete in him.
That thou, dead corse, again in complete steelRevisit'st thus the glimpses of the moon.
Finished; ended; concluded; completed; as, the edifice is complete.
This course of vanity almost complete.
Having all the parts or organs which belong to it or to the typical form; having calyx, corolla, stamens, and pistil.
To bring to a state in which there is no deficiency; to perfect; to consummate; to accomplish; to fulfill; to finish; as, to complete a task, or a poem; to complete a course of education.
Bred only and completed to the tasteOf lustful appetence.
And, to complete her bliss, a fool for mate.
Come or bring to a finish or an end;
He finished the dishes
She completed the requirements for her Master's Degree
The fastest runner finished the race in just over 2 hours; others finished in over 4 hours
Bring to a whole, with all the necessary parts or elements;
A child would complete the family
Complete or carry out;
Discharge one's duties
Complete a pass
Write all the required information onto a form;
Fill out this questionnaire, please!
Make out a form
Having every necessary or normal part or component or step;
A complete meal
A complete wardrobe
A complete set pf the Britannica
A complete set of china
A complete defeat
A complete accounting
An incomplete flower
Perfect and complete in every respect; having all necessary qualities;
A complete gentleman
A consummate performance
Having all four whorls or principal parts--sepals and petals and stamens and carpels (or pistils);
An accomplished pianist
A complete musician
Without qualification; used informally as (often pejorative) intensifiers;
An arrant fool
A complete coward
A consummate fool
A double-dyed villain
A perfect idiot
What a sodding mess
Stark staring mad
A thoroughgoing villain
Having come or been brought to a conclusion;
The harvesting was complete
The affair is over, ended, finished
The abruptly terminated interview
To finish a task or process.
She completed the assignment on time.
To make whole or perfect.
His arrival completed the family gathering.
Absolute or thorough.
She gave it her complete attention.
Finished or concluded.
The project is complete and will launch tomorrow.
If I meet all requirements, have I fulfilled or completed them?
You have "fulfilled" the requirements.
Is fulfilling always about promises?
No, "Fulfill" can also refer to duties, expectations, and dreams.
If I finish a book, have I fulfilled or completed it?
You have "completed" reading it.
Do both words relate to satisfaction?
"Fulfill" directly relates to satisfaction; "Complete" can indirectly, as in the satisfaction of finishing.
Can I say "fulfill a form"?
Typically, you'd say "complete a form."
When should I use "Complete" in a sentence?
Use "Complete" when indicating a finish, wholeness, or conclusion.
Can "Fulfill" and "Complete" be used interchangeably?
Sometimes, especially with tasks, but they have nuanced differences.
Which term relates more to satisfaction?
"Fulfill" often relates more to satisfaction, especially of requirements or expectations.
Is "Complete" always about ending something?
Often, but it can also denote wholeness or thoroughness.
Can a project be both fulfilled and complete?
Yes, a project can fulfill its objectives and be brought to completion.
Which word relates more to expectations?
"Fulfill" typically relates more to expectations.
Can something be complete but not fulfilled?
Yes, a task can be finished (complete) but not meet expectations (unfulfilled).
Is "Fulfill" more subjective than "Complete"?
Often, as "Fulfill" can relate to personal desires or expectations.
Written bySawaira Riaz
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