con·​gre·​gate | \ ˈkäŋ-gri-ˌgāt How to pronounce congregate (audio) \
congregated; congregating

Definition of congregate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

: to collect into a group or crowd : assemble The king congregated his knights.

intransitive verb

: to come together into a group, crowd, or assembly Students congregated in the auditorium.


con·​gre·​gate | \ ˈkäŋ-gri-gət How to pronounce congregate (audio) \

Definition of congregate (Entry 2 of 2)

: providing or being group services or facilities designed especially for elderly persons requiring supportive services congregate housing

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Other Words from congregate


congregator \ ˈkäŋ-​gri-​ˌgā-​tər How to pronounce congregator (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for congregate


gather, collect, assemble, congregate mean to come or bring together into a group, mass, or unit. gather is the most general term for bringing or coming together from a spread-out or scattered state. a crowd quickly gathered collect often implies careful selection or orderly arrangement. collected books on gardening assemble implies an ordered union or organization of persons or things often for a definite purpose. experts assembled for a conference congregate implies a spontaneous flocking together into a crowd or huddle. congregating under a shelter

Examples of congregate in a Sentence

Verb It's a place where the homeless congregate. Skiers congregated around the lodge's fireplace.
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb We’re not supposed to congregate in crowds during a pandemic, and most cities have canceled their firework shows. Jefferson Graham, USA TODAY, "With your smartphone, you can capture great photographs of fireworks. Here's how.," 5 July 2020 No more than 50 people will be allowed to congregate at organized events, games or practices. Paulina Pineda, The Arizona Republic, "Phoenix-area cities cancel July 4th events, pare back services following governor's order," 3 July 2020 The limit on gatherings will apply to political protests if demonstrators congregate in city parks, the mayor said. Diego Mendoza-moyers,, "‘Emergency status’ — 795 new COVID-19 cases, two new deaths in Bexar County," 27 June 2020 Most current shelter-in-place orders allow for small groups of people to congregate in the same place at the same time, so long as attendees are wearing face coverings and standing at least 6 feet apart. Matt Villano, CNN, "Virtual weddings done right by couples undeterred by the pandemic," 22 June 2020 As Vice President Mike Pence kicked off the rally, hundreds of protesters continued to congregate in downtown Tulsa, CBS affiliate KOTV reported. Li Cohen, CBS News, "Black Lives Matter protests ensue outside Trump's "Keep America Great" rally in Tulsa," 20 June 2020 Operate with reduced occupancy to maintain 6 feet distance between customers, with special attention to areas where people congregate. Maria Polletta, azcentral, "Ducey: All Arizona businesses must now comply with reopening guidelines," 17 June 2020 Forcing people to congregate at length indoors is the surest way to risk spreading the disease. Gilad Edelman, Wired, "Georgia’s Failure Shows How Not to Run an Election in the Pandemic," 10 June 2020 In the case of Arts, Beats & Eats in early September, that might mean fewer vendors, new foot-traffic patterns and the elimination of the national stage, where thousands typically congregate for the fest's headlining bands. Brian Mccollum, Detroit Free Press, "For Detroit concert and festival producers, hope returns amid talks with state officials," 9 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Using other testing providers, such as LabCorp, to do testing in congregate settings so as not to overburden Sonora Quest. Rachel Leingang, The Arizona Republic, "Delayed COVID-19 test results have a 'cascade effect' on public health response," 7 July 2020 Cuyahoga County has met the first four criteria, DeWine said, noting that the spread is growing outside the congregate settings. Rich Exner, cleveland, "Cuyahoga, 6 other counties placed on red alert for coronavirus by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine," 2 July 2020 Whitmer also signed Executive Order 2020-136 to extend restrictions on visiting long-term care facilities and other congregate living facilities through July 24, 2020, to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Scott Mcclallen, Washington Examiner, "Congressional GOP ask Nessel to investigate Whitmer's COVID-19 policy," 29 June 2020 Advocates are urging the federal government to do more to protect the disabled in congregate settings. Anchorage Daily News, "Thousands sick from COVID-19 in homes for the disabled," 28 June 2020 Instead of housing people in congregate settings, ADAPT and other activists argue that better outcomes can be achieved by supporting people in small group homes of 2 to 4 people; or even better, by supporting them in place. Rose Eveleth, Wired, "It's Time for an End-of-Life Discussion About Nursing Homes," 26 June 2020 These homes fit into a larger category of institutions sometimes referred to as congregate care settings. Michael Schulson, Quartz, "Coronavirus is renewing a call to abolish nursing homes," 25 June 2020 Other high-risk classifications noted in the communication included patients undergoing dialysis and those who reside in congregate living facilities like nursing homes. Bryant Furlow, ProPublica, "A Hospital Was Accused of Racially Profiling Native American Women. Staff Said Administrators Impeded an Investigation.," 22 June 2020 Who is being tested, particularly if there are efforts to test those in congregate settings such as nursing homes, can affect this percentage, Hanage said. Rachel Leingang, USA TODAY, "Arizona's COVID-19 spread is 'alarming' and action is needed, experts warn," 11 June 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'congregate.' 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 congregate


15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense


1900, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for congregate

Verb and Adjective

Middle English, from Latin congregatus, past participle of congregare, from com- + greg-, grex flock

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Time Traveler for congregate

Time Traveler

The first known use of congregate was in the 15th century

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Statistics for congregate

Last Updated

8 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Congregate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for congregate


How to pronounce congregate (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of congregate

: to come together in a group or crowd


con·​gre·​gate | \ ˈkäŋ-gri-ˌgāt How to pronounce congregate (audio) \
congregated; congregating

Kids Definition of congregate

: to collect or gather into a crowd or group : assemble Workers congregate around the coffee maker.

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Comments on congregate

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