verb col·late \ kə-ˈlāt , kä- , kō- ; ˈkä-ˌlāt , ˈkō- \
|Updated on: 2 Aug 2018

Definition of collate

collated; collating
1 a : to compare critically
b : to collect, compare carefully in order to verify, and often to integrate or arrange in order
  • collated the data for publication
2 a : to assemble in proper order; especially : to assemble in order for binding
  • collate printed sheets
b : to verify the order of (printed sheets)
[Latin collatus, past participle]
: to institute (a cleric) to a benefice


play \kə-ˈlā-tər, kä-, kō-; ˈkä-ˌlā-, ˈkō-\ noun

Examples of collate in a Sentence

  1. The invisible part of the work of such a writer is collating and organizing all the research material, which is a slow, painstaking task that many writers skip or abbreviate. —Nicholas LeMannNew Republic2 Sept. 2002
  2. Rare-book dealers use the word "collating" to mean going through a book page by page when it arrives to make certain that it is complete … —Calvin TrillinNew Yorker30 Oct. 1989
  3. "Certainly," Kidson said. " … we need to have him on our side and cooperating every step of the road after we've collated all the information." —Evelyn AnthonyThe Defector(1981) 1982
  4. And here have I, as before observed, carefully collected, collated and arranged them … —Washington IrvingA History of New York1809
  5. They are still collating the data.

  6. The photocopier will collate the pages of the report.

Recent Examples of collate from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'collate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

What does it mean to collate in a printing or copying context?

In terms of printing or copying, collating refers to putting printed sheets or photocopies in proper order, especially for binding. When you're printing or photocopying something and you're only printing or making one copy, you don't need to address the idea of collation at all. But if you're printing or making multiple copies of multi-page documents, you might want the printer or photocopier to collate the pages.

If you select the "collate" option, the documents that emerge all nicely printed or copied will have their pages in order already; you'll have a stack of documents all ready to go. If you choose not to collate the documents, you'll have a stack with all the first pages together, all the second pages together, all the third pages together, etc., and you'll have to assemble each document by hand. Collating, then, can save a lot of time.

Origin and Etymology of collate

back-formation from collation

Synonym Discussion of collate

compare, contrast, collate mean to set side by side in order to show differences and likenesses. compare implies an aim of showing relative values or excellences by bringing out characteristic qualities whether similar or divergent.
    • compared the convention facilities of the two cities
contrast implies an emphasis on differences.
    • contrasted the computerized system with the old filing cards
collate implies minute and critical inspection in order to note points of agreement or divergence.
    • data from districts around the country will be collated

COLLATE Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of collate for English Language Learners

  • : to gather together information from different sources in order to study it carefully

  • : to arrange (sheets of paper) in the correct order

Law Dictionary


verb col·late \ kə-ˈlāt, kä-, kō-; ˈkä-ˌlāt, ˈkō- \

legal Definition of collate

collated; collating
in the civil law of Louisiana : to return to an estate for equal division
  • children or grandchildren, coming to the succession of their fathers, mothers or other ascendants, must collate what they have received
  • Louisiana Civil Code
in the civil law of Louisiana : to return property or legacies to an estate for division
  • shall then be obliged to collate up to the sum necessary
  • Louisiana Civil Code

Origin and Etymology of collate

back-formation from collation, from Latin collatio (bonorum) bringing together (of property) for distribution to heirs

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fullness to the point of excess

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