con·grat·u·late | \kən-ˈgra-chə-ˌlāt, -ˈgra-jə-\
congratulated; congratulating

Definition of congratulate 

transitive verb

1 archaic : to express sympathetic pleasure at (an event)

2 : to express vicarious pleasure to (a person) on the occasion of success or good fortune graciously congratulated the winner also : to feel pleased with congratulating herself for a job well done

3 obsolete : salute, greet

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from congratulate

congratulator \kən-ˈgra-chə-ˌlā-tər, -ˈgra-jə- \ noun
congratulatory \kən-ˈgra-chə-lə-ˌtȯr-ē, -ˈgra-jə- \ adjective

Synonyms for congratulate


compliment, felicitate, hug

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of congratulate in a Sentence

I'd like to congratulate you on your success. She congratulated us on our test results. She congratulated herself for getting the best grade in her class.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

In contrast, Trump called Murdoch, a personal friend, last December to congratulate him on striking the deal with Iger. Ryan Faughnder,, "Disney-Fox deal wins antitrust approval; Comcast considers bidding higher," 28 June 2018 White House press secretary Sarah Sanders added later that Trump had called Duque on Monday to congratulate him on his election victory and discuss security challenges the new government will face. Washington Post, "US report: Colombia coca production surges to record high," 25 June 2018 In 1993, then-county GOP chairman Gene Ruehlmann had called Burke to congratulate him on his first day. Jason Williams,, "PX column: Democratic Party leader ends quarter-century in a thankless, unpaid job," 8 June 2018 Disick also shares a photo of a dessert, which appears to congratulate him and Richie, presumably on becoming a couple. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "A Timeline of Scott Disick and Sofia Richie's Relationship," 6 June 2018 The president called Barr to congratulate her on the reboot's massive premiere ratings in March. Ryan Parker, The Hollywood Reporter, "Trump Again Demands Apology From Disney's Bob Iger," 31 May 2018 President Donald Trump himself hailed the ratings success of the show and called up Barr to congratulate her. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "Roseanne Barr is the Trump era.," 29 May 2018 Network executives were celebrating their strategy of appealing to wider swaths of the country after Donald J. Trump’s surprising election win and the president himself called Ms. Barr to congratulate her on the show’s large audience. John Koblin, New York Times, "After Racist Tweet, Roseanne Barr’s Show Is Canceled by ABC," 29 May 2018 The president himself called to congratulate her on the numbers for the reboot and some conservatives saw the show's success as a mandate on what people really wanted to see on the air. Abby Gardner, Glamour, "ABC Cancels 'Roseanne' After Racist Twitter Rant," 29 May 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of congratulate

1539, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for congratulate

Latin congratulatus, past participle of congratulari to wish joy, from com- + gratulari to wish joy, from gratus pleasing — more at grace

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about congratulate

Share congratulate

Phrases Related to congratulate

to be congratulated

Statistics for congratulate

Last Updated

18 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for congratulate

The first known use of congratulate was in 1539

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for congratulate



English Language Learners Definition of congratulate

: to tell (someone) that you are happy because of his or her success or good luck

: to feel pleased with (yourself)


con·grat·u·late | \kən-ˈgra-chə-ˌlāt \
congratulated; congratulating

Kids Definition of congratulate

: to express pleasure on account of success or good fortune I congratulated the winner.

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on congratulate

What made you want to look up congratulate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


lying above or upon

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!