a Minute! What's this "Compleat" Thing?
an excerpt from The Compleat Carry-on Traveler
a web site managed by Doug Dyment
You'd be surprised (well, maybe you wouldn't) at the number of queries I've had about the title of this Website. Some folks think I've misspelled something, some think it's a British thing, and some suspect a joke that's gone over their heads. None of the above, it turns out...
Compleat is a real word, meaning highly proficient.
Immortalized in the title of a famous book by Izaac Walton ("The Compleat Angler", published in 1653), it began life as an archaic form of the word "complete", but came to be used for the specific meaning above.
The common adjective "complete", on the other hand, has many meanings, only one of which is "proficient"; others include "having all parts", "concluded", "thorough", "absolute", etc.
So the use of "compleat" on this site is simply a striving for linguistic precision. And it's not even that unusual: the last time I checked, over thirty thousand Web pages were also using the word (though often incorrectly, as a synonym for some other meaning of "complete").