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

Keep scrolling for more

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

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

So did a couple of ads congratulating the Blues on winning the Stanley Cup. Chuck Schilken,, "St. Louis Blues owner’s letter celebrating Stanley Cup win is published a tad early," 10 June 2019 Fans were quick to congratulate the player on Twitter, one even compiling photos from each of Nadal’s French Open victories. Claudia Harmata,, "King of Clay! Rafael Nadal Makes Tennis History with 12th Undefeated French Open Title," 9 June 2019 Afterward, the boys walked proudly through the infield as Roger Sparks gave his son a fist bump and congratulated Oz and Caleb on a job well done. Matt Tunseth, Anchorage Daily News, "‘He’s got this magical thing’: Track program gives special-needs student a sense of belonging," 7 June 2019 While countless fans congratulated Hoda on her dating milestone, a good handful began speculating about potential wedding bells. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "'Today' Fans Are Riled Up Over Hoda Kotb's Latest Instagram With Her Boyfriend Joel Schiffman," 6 June 2019 Avoid at all costs' Prime Minister May's eagerness to curry favor with the U.S. ahead of a trade deal could be seen in her rushing to Washington to congratulate Trump days after his inauguration in 2017. NBC News, "This is what the U.S. wants from the U.K. before it will sign a trade deal," 3 June 2019 Among the fans in the stadium was President Bill Clinton, who congratulated the team in their locker room after the game and hosted them the following week at the White House. Jaide Timm-garcia, CNN, "Women's World Cup: The match that changed women's football," 31 May 2019 Prince Harry's baby is finally here, and the world can't stop congratulating the royals. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Meghan Markle's Close Friends and Former Co-Stars React to Royal Baby News," 6 May 2019 Since Hailey married Justin Bieber in late 2018, however, the two have appeared to remain friends, with Shawn openly congratulating the pair on their engagement. Kara Nesvig, Teen Vogue, "Justin Bieber Told Fans to “Relax” After Shawn Mendes Liked Hailey Bieber’s Photo," 8 Mar. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about congratulate

Statistics for congratulate

Last Updated

14 Jun 2019

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 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.

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).


to take the place or position of

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
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!