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con·​gre·​gate ˈkäŋ-gri-ˌgāt How to pronounce congregate (audio)
congregated; congregating

transitive verb

: to collect into a group or crowd : assemble
The king congregated his knights.

intransitive verb

: to come together into a group, crowd, or assembly
Students congregated in the auditorium.
congregator noun


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con·​gre·​gate ˈkäŋ-gri-gət How to pronounce congregate (audio)
: providing or being group services or facilities designed especially for elderly persons requiring supportive services
congregate housing
Choose the Right Synonym for congregate

gather, collect, assemble, congregate mean to come or bring together into a group, mass, or unit.

gather is the most general term for bringing or coming together from a spread-out or scattered state.

a crowd quickly gathered

collect often implies careful selection or orderly arrangement.

collected books on gardening

assemble implies an ordered union or organization of persons or things often for a definite purpose.

experts assembled for a conference

congregate implies a spontaneous flocking together into a crowd or huddle.

congregating under a shelter

Examples of congregate in a Sentence

Verb It's a place where the homeless congregate. Skiers congregated around the lodge's fireplace.
Recent Examples on the Web
People congregate at the front windows, and aside from one group having what appears to be a production meeting, everyone else is solo, staring into their phones or laptops. Edan Lepucki, The Atlantic, 12 July 2024 This becomes clear as cats begin to congregate on your fire escape. Bryn Durgin, The New Yorker, 3 July 2024
The shelter plans propose sleeping space for almost 280 people in congregate and non-congregate spaces, RV parking, shaded outdoor areas, storage and laundry. The Arizona Republic, 3 Feb. 2023 For those who lack Roberson’s institutional experience, particularly people with fragile mental health, drug addiction, or both, congregate city shelters can be frightening and dangerous. Jennifer Egan, The New Yorker, 11 Sep. 2023 See all Example Sentences for congregate 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'congregate.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Verb and Adjective

Middle English, from Latin congregatus, past participle of congregare, from com- + greg-, grex flock

First Known Use


15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense


1900, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of congregate was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near congregate

Cite this Entry

“Congregate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


congregated; congregating
: to come together into a group or crowd


Middle English congregaten "to collect or assemble together," derived from Latin congregare "to assemble, gather," from con-, com- "with, together" and gregare "to gather into a flock or herd," from greg-, grex "flock, herd" — related to aggregate, gregarious, segregate

More from Merriam-Webster on congregate

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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