col·​lect | \ ˈkä-likt How to pronounce collect (audio) also -ˌlekt \

Definition of collect

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : a short prayer comprising an invocation, petition, and conclusion specifically, often capitalized : one preceding the eucharistic Epistle and varying with the day


col·​lect | \ kə-ˈlekt How to pronounce collect (audio) \
collected; collecting; collects

Definition of collect (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

1a : to bring together into one body or place
b : to gather or exact from a number of persons or sources collect taxes
c : to gather an accumulation of (objects) especially as a hobby collects stamps
3 : to gain or regain control of collect his thoughts
4 : to claim as due and receive payment for
5 : to get and bring with one specifically : pick up went to collect her at the train station

intransitive verb

1 : to come together in a band, group, or mass : gather
2a : to collect objects
b : to receive payment collecting on the insurance


adverb or adjective
col·​lect | \ kə-ˈlekt How to pronounce collect (audio) \

Definition of collect (Entry 3 of 3)

: to be paid for by the receiver

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Choose the Right Synonym for collect


gather, collect, assemble, congregate mean to come or bring together into a group, mass, or unit. gather is the most general term for bringing or coming together from a spread-out or scattered state. a crowd quickly gathered collect often implies careful selection or orderly arrangement. collected books on gardening assemble implies an ordered union or organization of persons or things often for a definite purpose. experts assembled for a conference congregate implies a spontaneous flocking together into a crowd or huddle. congregating under a shelter

Examples of collect in a Sentence

Verb They hope to collect over 1,000 signatures on the petition. He collected stories from all over the world. They collected information about the community. We collected soil samples from several areas on the site. We collected our baggage from the baggage claim at the airport. I left my suit at the cleaners and I have to collect it today. She enjoys collecting antique teapots. He has an impressive stamp collection, though he has been collecting for only a few years. I took a minute to collect my thoughts.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun There are other collect-at-home kits, but this is the first authorized for sale over-the-counter at stores or online, the agency said. NBC News, "Dec. 9 Coronavirus updates: Countries across the world prepare to vaccinate millions," 10 Dec. 2020 Tony Kahan, co-owner of Chicago chain The Friendly Wash, said employees at three of its four locations that accept cash collect coins from washer and dryer machines daily. Abdel Jimenez,, "Coin circulation is improving, but Chicago stores reeling from a summer of few coins still ask customers for spare change," 30 Oct. 2020 Also, many products and services are offered free to consumers, who in a sense pay with the valuable personal data companies such as Google collect. Brent Kendall And Rob Copeland, WSJ, "Justice Department Files Antitrust Lawsuit Against Google," 20 Oct. 2020 Reporters wander into a diner in West Virginia, collect quotes, and report back with patronizing chagrin that the people gnawing on corned beef hash still like the president. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "Bret Stephens’s Worst Column Yet?," 29 Sep. 2020 Republicans were particularly distressed with provisions of the bill that expand who is allowed collect and hand in ballots. CBS News, "Nevada passes bill to mail all voters ballots amid pandemic," 3 Aug. 2020 Khan spent four years in San Quentin housed in North Block, where 800 people share 12 collect call phones and 20 shower heads in the communal bathroom. Sarah Moon And Christina Maxouris, CNN, "California prisons replace their top medical officer amid a coronavirus outbreak," 7 July 2020 The change comes after growing scrutiny of the amount of data that tech companies such as Google collect and retain. NBC News, "Google says it will keep less browser history and location data by default," 26 May 2020 Every app that runs on our phone collects and stores data, and in the case of arrest, all of that information could become accessible to law enforcement. Erin Corbett,, "Police Are Coming For Protestors’ Cell Phones — Here’s How To Protect Your Data," 5 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Lawmakers agreed to extend the amount of time that people can collect unemployment benefits and restart an extra federal benefit that is provided on top of the usual state benefit. New York Times, "Gunfire and Crashing Cars: In Struggling Neighborhoods, ‘We’re Losing Our Grip’," 2 Jan. 2021 No federal laws regulate what automakers can collect or do with the vast majority of our driving data. NBC News, "Insecure wheels: Police turn to car data to destroy suspects' alibis," 28 Dec. 2020 Participants who completed the 2020 series can collect their hiking stick and first hiking medallion sticker during the open house sessions. Joan Rusek, cleveland, "Happy New Year, now it is time to start something new: Valley Views," 28 Dec. 2020 Lawmakers agreed to extend the amount of time that people can collect unemployment benefits and restart an extra federal benefit that is provided on top of the usual state benefit. New York Times, Star Tribune, "The stimulus package: What's in it for you," 27 Dec. 2020 Oregon law requires that five years pass before a missing person can be considered dead, which means Shawn’s family cannot collect his life insurance or even sell his truck unless a body is found. Jr Sullivan, Field & Stream, "F&S Classics: The Vanishing," 23 Dec. 2020 Not all robot vacuums can collect the same amount of debris and detritus before needing to be emptied out. Carsen Joenk, Popular Science, "Best robot vacuum: Clean up without lifting a finger," 18 Dec. 2020 Volunteers can also collect donations outside stores like Walmart through the red kettle campaign. N'dea Yancey-bragg, USA TODAY, "Millions of Americans could be facing eviction after the holidays. Here's how you can help," 16 Dec. 2020 The transparency framework creates tracking authorization requests within apps that users must agree to before the apps can collect data. Tyler Van Dyke, Washington Examiner, "Facebook buys full-page ads in major newspapers to attack Apple privacy policy," 16 Dec. 2020

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

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First Known Use of collect


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1563, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Adverb or adjective

1893, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for collect


Middle English collecte, from Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin collecta (short for oratio ad collectam prayer upon assembly), from Late Latin, assembly, from Latin, assemblage, from feminine of collectus


Latin collectus, past participle of colligere to collect, from com- + legere to gather — more at legend

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Learn More about collect

Time Traveler for collect

Time Traveler

The first known use of collect was in the 13th century

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Statistics for collect

Last Updated

20 Dec 2020

Cite this Entry

“Collect.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for collect


How to pronounce collect (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of collect

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to get (things) from different places and bring them together
: to get (one or more things) from a place
: to get (similar things) and bring them together as a hobby


How to pronounce collect (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of collect (Entry 2 of 2)

US, of a telephone call : paid for by the person who is receiving the call


col·​lect | \ kə-ˈlekt How to pronounce collect (audio) \
collected; collecting

Kids Definition of collect

1 : to gather from a number of sources collect stamps She collected stories from all over the world.
2 : to receive payment for Our landlord is here to collect the rent money.
3 : to bring or come together into one body or place Our teacher collected our homework papers.
4 : to gain or regain control of After losing my way, I had to stop and collect my thoughts.
5 : to increase in amount Dust collected on the furniture.
6 : to get and bring He collected his easel … and set it up …— Richard Peck, A Year Down Yonder

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