con·gre·ga·tion | \ ˌkäŋ-gri-ˈgā-shən \

Definition of congregation 

1a : an assembly of persons : gathering especially : an assembly of persons met for worship and religious instruction

b : a religious community: such as

(1) : an organized body of believers in a particular locality The pastor delivered a lengthy sermon to the congregation.

(2) : a Roman Catholic religious institute with only simple vows a congregation of nuns

(3) : a group of monasteries forming an independent subdivision of an order

2 : the act or an instance of congregating or bringing together : the state of being congregated

3 : a body of cardinals and officials forming an administrative division of the papal curia

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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

Some members of the congregation now bring their handgun to services every Sunday. Silvia Foster-frau, San Antonio Express-News, "Gun permit requests surged after Sutherland Springs massacre," 11 May 2018 Originally based in Australia, the church brought its house of worship to New York City (Bieber’s congregation) in 2010. Stephanie Petit,, "Inside Hillsong: All About the Church That's Attracted the Likes of Justin Bieber and Chris Pratt," 9 July 2018 Many of his closest friends were the pastors and fellow members of these two churches’ congregations, associates from Martin Marietta and neighbors throughout Winter Park, Maitland and Winter Springs., "Deaths in Central Florida: 5/26," 26 May 2018 Chosen to give the address to the congregations, Bishop Curry, who is African-American, quoted Martin Luther King. Sarah Lyall, New York Times, "‘Stand by Me’: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Are Married," 20 May 2018 Shortly thereafter, clashes began at the Friday prayer congregation, which was disrupted. Ben Evansky, Fox News, "Protests continue for third day in southern Iran city as Pompeo tweets support for demonstrators," 18 May 2018 There's a caesura, and then all the hands in the congregation go up. Michael Paterniti, GQ, "Jimmy Carter for Higher Office," 26 June 2018 Most of the land is currently open space or community gardens serving the congregation and local residents, according to the materials. Steve Sadin,, "Zion Woods affordable housing development back on the docket in Deerfield," 25 June 2018 Maria and Consolata were taken care of by a congregation of nuns, the Consolata Sisters, and were born at the Consolata Regional Hospital, where their parents left them after birth, according to Sister Jane Luigi. Rory Smith, Cnn Anna Cardovillis, CNN, "Tanzanian conjoined twins die at age 21," 4 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'congregation.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of congregation

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

History and Etymology for congregation

see congregate entry 1

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Statistics for congregation

Last Updated

25 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for congregation

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

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More Definitions for congregation



English Language Learners Definition of congregation

: the people who are attending a religious service

: the people who regularly attend religious services


con·gre·ga·tion | \ ˌkäŋ-gri-ˈgā-shən \

Kids Definition of congregation

1 : an assembly of persons gathered for religious worship

2 : a gathering or collection of people or things

3 : the membership of a church or synagogue

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Comments on congregation

What made you want to look up congregation? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to deposit or conceal in a hiding place

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