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

Princess Eugenie just became the latest member of the royal family to officially congratulate the Duke and Duchess of Sussex on the birth of their new baby, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Princess Eugenie Just Shared a Sweet Instagram Post in Honor of New Royal Baby Archie Harrison," 8 May 2019 Shortly after the pair announced their engagement on Instagram, the former POTUS sent the pair an adorable note congratulating the couple on their engagement. Stacey Leasca, Glamour, "Barack Obama Sent the Sweetest Engagement Note to Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez," 24 Mar. 2019 Carson himself took to Twitter to congratulate Lilly on the news. Sara Delgado, Teen Vogue, "Lilly Singh Is Getting Her Own NBC Late Night Talk Show," 15 Mar. 2019 When his parents came in to meet the celebrities and congratulate their son, Luke shared a touching moment with Nick's father. Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "Watch the Emotional 'American Idol' Audition That Brought Luke Bryan to Tears," 4 Mar. 2019 The authors are to be congratulated for not shortchanging the forces and personalities on the British side. Peter Cozzens, WSJ, "‘Valley Forge’ Review: In the Bleak Midwinter," 21 Dec. 2018 Security guards at the Eugene airport have congratulated Ionescu, the Pac-12 player of the year, and professors have given shout-outs to senior guard Lexi Bando in class. Tyson Alger,, "Oregon Ducks vs. Marquette Golden Eagles: NIT live updates," 18 Mar. 2018 Bey later shared footage on her Instagram, celebrating the duchess in honor of Black History Month and congratulating her on her pregnancy. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Meet the Artist Behind the Stunning Meghan Markle Portrait Featured by Beyoncé and Jay-Z," 21 Feb. 2019 Clarkson thanked Underwood for sharing her struggles — and congratulated her on her pregnancy with baby No. Zoe Szathmary, Fox News, "Kelly Clarkson praises Carrie Underwood for opening up about miscarriages: ‘It’s so important'," 24 Sep. 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.

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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

17 May 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 speak slightingly about or to degrade

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