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 congratulate (audio) , -​ˈgra-​jə-​ \ noun

Synonyms for congratulate


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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 Fans and public figures from around the nation took to social media to congratulate the Bears’ on their historic achievement. Dallas News, "National Reaction: President Joe Biden, Robert Griffin III, others congratulate Baylor on its first national championship," 6 Apr. 2021 Mayor Dennis Clough and the Town Criers’ representative, Rick Grane, were on hand to congratulate the couple, along with two of their three children and some friends. Linda Gandee, cleveland, "Westlake Town Criers announce this year’s Mr. and Mrs. Westlake," 4 Jan. 2021 When Trump won in 2016, the Russian leader was among the first to congratulate him. Laura King, Los Angeles Times, "Biden’s win poses a dilemma for world leaders who went all-in on Trump," 10 Nov. 2020 Governor Gretchen Whitmer was one of the first to congratulate Biden, as news networks projected the win. Darcie Moran, Detroit Free Press, "Joe Biden elected 46th President: Gov. Whitmer, Michigan react to victory," 7 Nov. 2020 As the buzzer sounded and Oldham County students rushed the floor to congratulate their classmates, the emotions caught up with coach Coy Zerhusen. Steve Bittenbender, The Courier-Journal, "Oldham County holds off North Oldham to claim Eighth Region championship, Sweet 16 berth," 28 Mar. 2021 Family members who had helped set up the bedroom scene and friends in secret attendance began running from hiding spots to congratulate the couple. New York Times, "Jokes and Pranks Pave the Way For Love," 26 Mar. 2021 William and Kate were questioned by a journalist on the subject during a visit to a School 21 in Stratford, east London to congratulate teachers involved in re-opening schools following the UK’s lockdown. Victoria Murphy, Town & Country, "Prince William Says the Royal Family Is Not Racist," 11 Mar. 2021 Cox, along with Sen. Mitt Romney, is one of the handful of top Utah Republicans to congratulate Biden for winning the election. Bryan Schott, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Spencer Cox rejects Trump’s claim of voter fraud, says there’s ‘no evidence’," 12 Nov. 2020

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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Time Traveler for congratulate

Time Traveler

The first known use of congratulate was in 1539

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Statistics for congratulate

Last Updated

12 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Congratulate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Apr. 2021.

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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

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