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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

Example Sentences

Verb It's a place where the homeless congregate. Skiers congregated around the lodge's fireplace.
Recent Examples on the Web
In East Timor, an international crowd congregated around the beach in Lautem municipality, waiting to witness the solar eclipse through their special eclipse glasses. Julia Musto, Fox News, 20 Apr. 2023 When the water temperature warms into the 50s, the fish begin to congregate and spawn. Paul A. Smith, Journal Sentinel, 16 Apr. 2023 Each spring, hundreds of thousands of people congregate in the Coachella Valley to watch some of the biggest names in music perform in a breathtaking desert setting. Brittany Natale, Redbook, 5 Apr. 2023 People want food production, including everything from herb and vegetable gardens to chicken coops; spaces for open-air exercise; and firepits and dining areas that allow family and friends to congregate even when the weather isn’t perfect. Tim Mckeough, ELLE Decor, 5 Apr. 2023 Bulk carrier ships congregate along coastlines, recalling for some communities Indonesia’s colonial history, when Dutch and Portuguese settlers exploited these islands for spices such as nutmeg and cloves. Rebecca Tan, Washington Post, 10 May 2023 My flight leaving Houston is delayed because bees have congregated on the tip of one of the wings. Sarah Kuta, Smithsonian Magazine, 5 May 2023 Sheila Dillon, the city’s housing chief, said about 150 people congregate in the area daily, and that many of them are not homeless. Danny Mcdonald,, 4 May 2023 Passengers waiting to fly from Houston to Atlanta on Wednesday were delayed by several hours when a swarm of bees congregated on the aircraft’s wing shortly before takeoff. Chloe Taylor, Fortune, 4 May 2023
San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria announced Tuesday that the 33-room Seniors Landing bridge shelter will be run by the nonprofit Serving Seniors, which has been pushing for a non-congregate shelter for older homeless people since releasing a needs assessment report for seniors in September 2021. San Diego Union-Tribune, 20 Dec. 2022 Just two years after registering with the state, the nonprofit now runs the non-congregate shelter at the Aviator Hotel downtown, the 200-bed low barrier shelter inside the Sullivan, and is moving to operate another 55 units at the former Alex Hotel that the city recently acquired. Zachariah Hughes, Anchorage Daily News, 28 Oct. 2022 Two of the 68 new cases reported were from congregate living facilities, one a staff member at Copper Ridge and the other a case at a facility so small the health department does not identify it out of privacy concerns. Bob Blubaugh,, 12 Apr. 2021 Many know one another and congregate at Totemoff's Bar and Grill, a mid-mountain cafeteria that feels unchanged since the '80s. Candice Rainey, Condé Nast Traveler, 19 Jan. 2023 Hicks said those families — which now comprise 20 percent to 25 percent of the agency’s congregate shelter households — face particular stresses this season. John Laidler,, 22 Dec. 2022 Masks continue to be compulsory indoors at healthcare and congregate-care facilities, at business where required and for anyone who has been exposed to COVID in the last 10 days. Mary Kekatos, ABC News, 8 Dec. 2022 What to expect:A traditional sit-down congregate meal at tables with all the trimmings and fixings. Ellie Willard, The Arizona Republic, 23 Nov. 2022 Plumbing and electrical systems must reroute from large, congregate areas to each new apartment or condo. Noah Arroyo, San Francisco Chronicle, 17 Oct. 2022 See More

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 2 Jun. 2023.

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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