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 This event took place at Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church and drew hundreds of volunteers from both of these Boca Raton congregations. Sergio Carmona,, "Palm Beach County synagogues feed needy for Thanksgiving," 27 Nov. 2019 Retrofitting buildings for solar power is another way Green The Church is making congregations more sustainable. Nicollette Higgs, CNN, "How green theology is energizing the black community to fight the climate crisis," 22 Nov. 2019 Five years ago, the first Interfaith Thanksgiving service brought three congregations — Temple Isaiah, Laurel Presbyterian Church and Resurrection of our Lord — together in celebration. Katie V. Jones,, "Coming together for Thanksgiving at interfaith service in Laurel," 20 Nov. 2019 In the past fourteen years, New Life’s congregation has grown from twelve to a hundred. Eliza Griswold, The New Yorker, "The New Front Line of the Anti-Abortion Movement," 11 Nov. 2019 Local church congregations bring the side dishes and provide financial resources in addition to volunteers to serve and deliver the holiday meals, said Fraser. Karen Zurawski, Houston Chronicle, "Katy volunteers sharing blessings on Thanksgiving," 8 Nov. 2019 Tree of Life congregation will hire a strategic planning consultant to help with the final plans. Li Cohen, CBS News, "Tree of Life Synagogue to reopen as "symbol against hatred"," 18 Oct. 2019 Curtis said, adding the sale allowed the church congregation to purchase and move into a smaller property at 827 Foothill Blvd. Sara Cardine, La Cañada Valley Sun, "La Cañada council member buys church property, floats senior housing plan," 9 Oct. 2019 The 5-gallon buckets were donated by Lowe’s Westminster and filled by members of the WUMC congregation., "Religion Briefs: Westminster UMC puts together, delivers buckets of supplies," 5 Oct. 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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Time Traveler for congregation

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for congregation

Last Updated

4 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Congregation.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 14 December 2019.

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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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