col·​late kə-ˈlāt How to pronounce collate (audio)
collated; collating

transitive verb

: to compare critically
: to collect, compare carefully in order to verify, and often to integrate or arrange in order
collated the data for publication
: to assemble in proper order
especially : to assemble in order for binding
collate printed sheets
: to verify the order of (printed sheets)
[Latin collatus, past participle] : to institute (a cleric) to a benefice
kə-ˈlā-tər How to pronounce collate (audio)

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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.

Choose the Right Synonym for 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

Examples of collate in a Sentence

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 LeMann, New Republic, 2 Sept. 2002
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 Trillin, New Yorker, 30 Oct. 1989
"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 Anthony, The Defector, (1981) 1982
And here have I, as before observed, carefully collected, collated and arranged them … Washington Irving, A History of New York, 1809
They are still collating the data. The photocopier will collate the pages of the report.
Recent Examples on the Web Her work was also often collated and published in anthologies by other editors under titles such as Selected Stories and Vintage Munro. Maureen Lee Lenker,, 14 May 2024 So, Apple has been researching how to collect and collate all of your motion data, how to use gait recognition and your headphones to identify you, and how to track and understand your heart rate data. David Pierce, The Verge, 5 May 2024 Stepan walks through the four levels of how AI can augment warfare: One is reconnaissance, where machine learning can be used to collate large volumes of footage and satellite imagery. Justin Ling, WIRED, 2 May 2024 That can range from designing and leading studies into certain issues to just helping to collate data on something. Andrew Kersley, WIRED, 19 Mar. 2024 See all Example Sentences for collate 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'collate.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


back-formation from collation

First Known Use

1612, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of collate was in 1612

Dictionary Entries Near collate

Cite this Entry

“Collate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Jun. 2024.

Legal Definition

collated; collating

transitive verb

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 receivedLouisiana Civil Code

intransitive verb

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 necessaryLouisiana Civil Code

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

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