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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
The town’s dance hall and saloon remain Dunton’s social hub, where guests congregate for icebreakers and boot-scootin’. Adam Erace, Fortune, 8 Aug. 2023 Leaders have now called on Watts residents not to congregate in large groups for the rest of 2023. Brennon Dixson, Los Angeles Times, 2 Aug. 2023 As far as hard water goes, dark soap scum often congregated along the sides of my tub, which, to my chagrin, prompted weekly scrub-downs of the area. Good Housekeeping, 1 Aug. 2023 As homelessness has surged, more people have congregated in large encampments for some semblance of security and stability. Livia Albeck-Ripka, New York Times, 30 July 2023 Yet unlike at most Las Vegas clubs, where the general admission crowd doesn’t even get to see the DJ booth — and the best views are reserved for those purchasing five-figure tables — at LIV, the average patron will congregate in the middle of the action. Melinda Sheckells, The Hollywood Reporter, 18 Sep. 2023 Montgomery County police will assign officers to monitor areas where students are often known to congregate after games, according to the letter. Nicole Asbury, Washington Post, 7 Sep. 2023 This ending points to how important and inspiring congregating together can be. Robyn Mowatt, Essence, 6 Sep. 2023 Cal Williams, who served as master of ceremonies Wednesday, said having a place for seniors to congregate is an invaluable community asset. Chris Bieri, Anchorage Daily News, 27 July 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 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 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 4 Oct. 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

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