con·​gre·​ga·​tion | \ ˌkäŋ-gri-ˈgā-shən How to pronounce congregation (audio) \

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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Synonyms for congregation


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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 One of China’s biggest and best known, Rongguili Church in Guangzhou, which had a congregation of several thousand, was closed last December. The Economist, "China says Hong Kong’s protesters have the mainland in their sights," 12 Sep. 2019 Piper, who’s 17, knows that Father is a Prophet and head of a congregation that worships him. Mary Ann Grossmann, Twin Cities, "Mysteries, folktales, history and adventure: Fall brings heaps of new books from Minnesota authors and publishers," 3 Sep. 2019 Temple Beth-El, a Conservative congregation down the street on Highland Avenue, joined with Temple-Emanu on July 12 for a joint Shabbat service to welcome Wright to Birmingham. al, "Alabama rabbi teaches New Testament role in Jewish history," 26 July 2019 Supporting our local schools, while mentoring young professionals wishing to serve the community, was a natural fit for a congregation with many current and retired teachers. Jamila Young,, "Woodward House Celebrates Anniversary," 18 July 2019 Grand Rapids First, a Wyoming, Michigan, congregation, is covering 1,899 families’ medical debts — almost $2 million in total — across four Michigan counties. Emma Keith, Detroit Free Press, "Grand Rapids church pays off almost $2M in medical debt for Michigan families," 1 July 2019 According to the synagogue’s website, Tree of Life is home to a conservative Jewish congregation. De Elizabeth, Teen Vogue, "The Victims of the Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting Have Been Identified," 28 Oct. 2018 Charles Teddy Adupong, leader of a London district of the Church of Pentecost-UK, and pastor of a black-majority congregation, also welcomes the amendment. Robert Stevens, The Christian Science Monitor, "Church of England's outreach effort may mean end of 'snobbishness'," 5 July 2018 Some didn’t approve of the congregation being linked to overtly political demonstrations associated with one political party. Sarah Parvini, Los Angeles Times, "Family separation and refugee cap reinvigorate Jews’ activist roots: ‘We’ve always been immigrants’," 17 Sep. 2019

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

6 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for congregation

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

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More Definitions for congregation


How to pronounce congregation (audio)

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 How to pronounce congregation (audio) \

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

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concealed or difficult to comprehend

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