congregation

noun
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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for congregation

Synonyms

assembly, church

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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

Faith leaders at more than 100 locations will spread the message of safe sleep and hand out materials to their congregations. Ginger Christ, cleveland.com, "First Year Cleveland puts infant-mortality message in Popeyes customers’ bags," 6 Sep. 2019 In recent weeks, as the economy has deteriorated, his congregation has shrunk from 400 to 120. The Economist, "Zimbabwe faces its worst economic crisis in a decade," 15 Aug. 2019 Two elders of the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witness in Beaver Dam received separate text messages threatening that their congregation and other meetings would be blown up Sunday. Jordyn Noennig, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "A juvenile threatened to blow up the congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses in Beaver Dam, police say," 11 Aug. 2019 For 25 years, Douglass Petty has been preaching to his congregation at Fresh Start Bible Church in St. Louis, Missouri. Katherine Ellen Foley, Quartz, "Excluding minorities from Alzheimer’s research is wrong—and it’s keeping us from finding a cure," 19 July 2019 Shultz plans on showing it to his congregation on Sunday. Anchorage Daily News, "Repairs to downtown Anchorage church snowball after additional damage is found," 13 June 2019 The two men who delivered the letter informing Young of the disciplinary council were long-time friends from his congregation, Young said. Brady Mccombs, Fox News, "Mormon fighting to end youth interviews summoned to hearing," 30 Aug. 2018 The congregation struggled to handle the deluge of donations: cash, checks and thousands of cards and homemade items. Silvia Foster-frau, San Antonio Express-News, "Sutherland Springs receives millions in donations to massacre relief fund," 8 July 2018 The Jesuits are not a church, but a congregation within the Catholic Church. latimes.com, "For the Record," 19 May 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.

See More

First Known Use of congregation

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

History and Etymology for congregation

see congregate entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about congregation

Statistics for congregation

Last Updated

11 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for congregation

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for congregation

congregation

noun

English Language Learners Definition of congregation

: the people who are attending a religious service
: the people who regularly attend religious services

congregation

noun
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

Keep scrolling for more

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).

WORD OF THE DAY

authorized for issue (as a bond)

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Citation

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!