con·​gre·​ga·​tion ˌkäŋ-gri-ˈgā-shən How to pronounce congregation (audio)
: an assembly of persons : gathering
especially : an assembly of persons met for worship and religious instruction
: a religious community: such as
: an organized body of believers in a particular locality
The pastor delivered a lengthy sermon to the congregation.
: a Roman Catholic religious institute with only simple vows
a congregation of nuns
: a group of monasteries forming an independent subdivision of an order
: the act or an instance of congregating or bringing together : the state of being congregated
: a body of cardinals and officials forming an administrative division of the papal curia

Did you know?

The verb congregate may be used for spontaneous gatherings. A crowd quickly congregates at the scene of an accident, for example, just as cows, sheep, or horses tend to congregate during a storm. And under military rule, citizens are often forbidden to congregate on street corners or anywhere else. But a congregation is generally a group that has gathered for a formal purpose, usually in church. The Congregational Church was originally the church of the Puritan settlers, in which each congregation governed its own church independent of any higher authority.

Examples of congregation in a Sentence

The priest addressed the congregation. She is a member of a small congregation.
Recent Examples on the Web When she was approached by members of the congregation on Fordham Road in the Bronx, her family situation was tough. Yvonne Villarreal, Los Angeles Times, 28 June 2024 Keeping up with that tradition, Gables UCC was the first congregation to have a float in the LGBTQ Pride Parade in Miami Beach over 15 years ago, an action that contributed to the church’s significant LGBTQ population today. Lauren Costantino, Miami Herald, 28 June 2024 Thirty-one of the 190 videos—almost a fifth—include disparaging remarks about tribal practices including the Sunrise Dance or medicine men, including two completely dedicated to convincing the congregation of the evil within the Sunrise Dance. Seyward Darby, Longreads, 28 June 2024 The Peoples Temple was Jones' congregation, which began informally in the 1950s. Haley Van Horn, Peoplemag, 17 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for congregation 

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

Word History


see congregate entry 1

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of congregation was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near congregation

Cite this Entry

“Congregation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


con·​gre·​ga·​tion ˌkäŋ-gri-ˈgā-shən How to pronounce congregation (audio)
: a gathering or collection of persons or things
: an assembly of persons gathered especially for religious worship
: the members of a church or synagogue

More from Merriam-Webster on congregation

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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