*Note: One might (understandably) think my question off-topic because the OED should list the abbreviations it uses, and if not, surely Google will have the answer. Please bear with me while I explain.*
I wanted to learn more about the word, bespeak, so I turned to the venerable Oxford English Dictionary (OED).1 Definition number 7 for bespeak reads in part:2
a. To speak of, tell of, be the outward expression of; to indicate, give evidence of.
1629 J. Earle Micro-cosmogr. (ed. 5) xx. sig. E2v His very countenance and gesture bespeak how much he is.
1814 Wordsworth Excursion i. 42 But her House Bespake a sleepy hand of negligence. 1863 C. C. Clarke Shakespeare-characters iii. 65 Hamlet's proneness to soliloquy bespeaks the reflective man.
b. with compl.
a1704 T. Brown Oration in Praise Drunkenness in Wks. (1707) I. i. 47 Such whose smiling Aspect bespeaks them Friends.
1815 Scribbleomania 18 Symptoms bespeaking me rash.
QUESTION: What does 'compl.' mean in definition 7b?
- I looked for a list of abbreviations in the OED itself, but if it's there, I could not find it.
- I Googled "compl." (with and without the quotation marks);
- I Googled ("compl." AND abbreviation) - with and without the parentheses;
- I searched several abbreviation sites; and
- I reviewed publishing terms and their abbreviations in the BlueBook (citation guide for law reviews and other legal writing).
What I learned
- In the publishing world, 'comp.' stands for compilation or compile.3
- In the legal world, 'compl.' stands for complaint.
- AcronymFinder indicates that 'compl' stands for complete or completion.
- AllAcronyms.com informed me that 'comp.' can refer to compound or composition.
- TheFreeDictionary.com instructed me that 'compl' refers to a 1966 article in The Computer Journal, titled "The COMPL Language and Operating System". 4
Unfortunately, I did not learn what the OED means by 'compl.'
Subscription required. However, most university and public libraries provide their members with access to OED Online. There are also the Oxford Dictionaries, abbreviated ODO (Oxford Dictionary Online). The URL for Oxford Dictionary - English is https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/
'in part' - I did not include all the examples of historical usage (quotations) because the OED (print or online) is protected by copyright, therefore I did not want to copy and paste the entire definition verbatim.
The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation 517 tbl.T.14 (Columbia Law Review Ass’n et al. eds., 20th ed. 2015).
A. G. Fraser, J. D. Smart; The COMPL Language and Operating System. Comput J 1966; 9 (2): 144-156. doi:10.1093/comjnl/9.2.144