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Inherited from Old Spanish cumplir~complir, from Vulgar Latin *complīre, from Latin complēre. The retention of /pl/ is unusual and perhaps reflects some form of conservative tendency. Cf. henchir < *implīre < implēre for the more usual outcome.[1] Compare also Portuguese cumprir, which shows a similar lack of palatalization.


  • IPA(key): /kumˈpliɾ/ [kũmˈpliɾ]
  • Rhymes: -iɾ
  • Syllabification: cum‧plir


cumplir (first-person singular present cumplo, first-person singular preterite cumplí, past participle cumplido)

  1. to fulfil, to fulfill, to meet, to deliver (e.g., requirements, prerequisites, promise, vow)
    No prometas lo que no puedas cumplir.
    Do not promise what you cannot deliver.
  2. to achieve, to accomplish, to carry out, to perform, to complete, to discharge, to fulfil(e.g., one's duties, responsibilities)
  3. to turn a certain age (usually succeeded by los, although not necessary)
    Cumplí los 18 años el mes pasado.
    I turned 18 last month.
    Ella vivió con sus padres hasta que cumplió 20 años.
    She lived with her parents until she turned 20.
  4. to serve (e.g., a prison sentence, an allotted time of punishment)
  5. to comply
  6. (reflexive) to comply with; to be fulfilled, met, honored, implemented, satisfied, performed, observed, respected, followed
  7. (reflexive) to be served (e.g. a prison sentence or punishment)
  8. (takes a reflexive pronoun) to come true, to be fulfilled


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Related terms[edit]


  1. ^ Joan Coromines; José A. Pascual (1984), “cumplir”, in Diccionario crítico etimológico castellano e hispánico (in Spanish), volume II (Ce–F), Madrid: Gredos, →ISBN, page 290

Further reading[edit]