con·​grat·​u·​late | \ kən-ˈgra-chə-ˌlāt How to pronounce congratulate (audio) , -ˈgra-jə-\
congratulated; congratulating

Definition of congratulate

transitive verb

1 : 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
2 archaic : to express sympathetic pleasure at (an event)
3 obsolete : salute, greet

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Other Words from congratulate

congratulator \ kən-​ˈgra-​chə-​ˌlā-​tər How to pronounce congratulator (audio) , -​ˈgra-​jə-​ \ noun
congratulatory \ kən-​ˈgra-​chə-​lə-​ˌtȯr-​ē How to pronounce congratulatory (audio) , -​ˈgra-​jə-​ \ adjective

Synonyms for congratulate


compliment, felicitate, hug

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

No matter win or lose, our kids will go up to the other team and introduce themselves and congratulate them. Lisa Cisneros,, "Leyden students receive AP, Special Olympics awards," 16 Sep. 2019 The Red Sox thanked Dombrowski for the three consecutive division titles and World Series championship in the 292-word press release and congratulated him on his career in Boston, but not a single word publicly on why he was fired. Bob Nightengale, USA TODAY, "Opinion: Red Sox must answer some big questions after firing Dave Dombrowski," 11 Sep. 2019 Everyone would have congratulated her on reaching the finals and talk of the inevitability of future Slams. Jon Wertheim,, "Mailbag: Wrapping Up a Cracking 2019 U.S. Open," 11 Sep. 2019 The family took turns congratulating her on obtaining her MBA, and Hassan turned his speech into a proposal. Jasmine Grant, Essence, "Bridal Bliss: Candice and Hassan Looked Like Royalty At Their St. Lucia Wedding," 11 Sep. 2019 Her Voice co-stars, Blake Shelton, Gwen Stefani, and John also recorded a video for Kelly, congratulating her on the big moment and wishing her well. Megan Stein, Country Living, "Every Amazing Moment You've Missed From Kelly Clarkson's New Talk Show," 10 Sep. 2019 After audio played of Cowell congratulating her, Queen Robert stripped out of her dress to reveal two nipple tassels ready and waiting for a celebratory spin. Joe Lynch, Billboard, "Bushwig 2019: All the Best Things We Saw," 9 Sep. 2019 Kelly and Brandon moved in together 9 months later When Kelly appeared on Ellen in November 2012, the host congratulated her on her engagement. Blake Bakkila, Good Housekeeping, "Kelly Clarkson's Husband Brandon Blackstock Has so Many Ties to the Music Industry," 9 Sep. 2019 Just as Mary Westfall began leading dozens of elementary school students in morning exercises Thursday, she was accosted by a crowd of people blowing horns, shaking noisemakers and ringing cowbells to congratulate her. Ashley Mcbride,, "Teachers and staff surprised with grants — and Bonham Academy has 11 of them," 22 Aug. 2019

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.

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First Known Use of congratulate

1539, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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

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Statistics for congratulate

Last Updated

4 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for congratulate

The first known use of congratulate was in 1539

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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 How to pronounce congratulate (audio) \
congratulated; congratulating

Kids Definition of congratulate

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

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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).


to wander slowly or to speak indistinctly

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