consummate

1 of 2

adjective

1
: extremely skilled and accomplished
a consummate liar
a consummate professional
2
: of the highest degree
consummate skill
consummate cruelty
3
: complete in every detail : perfect
a consummate model of a clipper ship
consummately adverb

consummate

2 of 2

verb

con·​sum·​mate ˈkän(t)-sə-ˌmāt How to pronounce consummate (audio)
consummated; consummating

transitive verb

1
: to make (marital union) complete by sexual intercourse
consummate a marriage
2
a
: finish, complete
consummate a business deal
b
: to make perfect
c
: achieve
… his desire of consummating victory and revenge made him cautious …Edward Bulwer-Lytton
consummator noun

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Are You Using consummate Correctly?

Consummate, which derives from the Latin verb consummare (meaning "to sum up" or "to finish"), has been used as an adjective in English since the 15th century. Some usage commentators feel the word is overused and others think it should be limited to the "perfect" sense (as in "a consummate little model of a clipper ship"), but neither of those positions is more than an opinion. All of the senses of the word are well-established and have served careful writers well for many, many years.

Examples of consummate in a Sentence

Adjective … Berg, the consummate schmoozer, was the perfect spy for the job. Dick Teresi, New York Times Book Review, 24 July 1994
To thrive in science, you must be both a consummate collaborator and a relentless competitor. Natalie Angier, New York Times Book Review, 6 Nov. 1988
The rest of his life (he lived for a few more years) was one great consummate silence. R. K. Narayan, "Under the Banyan Tree," in The Story and Its Writer, edited by Ann Charters1987
"How dare you!" Natalie screamed, in consummate frustration … Joseph Wambaugh, The Black Marble, 1978
He plays the piano with consummate skill. consummate cabinetmakers, they produced desks and chests of drawers that are now regarded as masterpieces of American furniture Verb In part she had loved him for that, loved the tender understanding with which he had acquiesced to her wish not to consummate their relationship out of wedlock. Dorothy West, The Wedding, 1995
Once the sale was consummated, a thorough housecleaning took place in the advertising department … Brendan Gill, New York Times Book Review, 4 Oct. 1987
By prolonging the suspense and terror, he was needlessly delaying the reconciliation he himself was yearning so dearly to consummate. Joseph Heller, God Knows, 1984
The bargaining process went on for a few days, but the deal was never consummated. Their happiness was consummated when their son was born.
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
He is known at the Capitol as a consummate political insider who serves as chief of staff for the Senate Democrats and a close ally of Senate President Pro Tem Martin Looney of New Haven. Christopher Keating, Hartford Courant, 9 Feb. 2023 Nova — who died at 40, in 1975, from bone cancer — was a consummate rule breaker. Allyson McCabe, New York Times, 20 Jan. 2023 Paul Silas was a consummate team player and an integral member of the 1974 and 1976 NBA World Championship teams. Bob Ryan, BostonGlobe.com, 11 Dec. 2022 City Council members hailed Maland on Tuesday as a consummate professional who showed patience and humility dealing with members of the public. San Diego Union-Tribune, 10 Jan. 2023 Gordon has been a consummate professional in Houston across the last seven seasons. Michael Shapiro, Chron, 1 Jan. 2023 Meanwhile, Cohen remained the consummate professional, throwing it to Richard Quest for an interview with Pitbull. Jon Blistein, Rolling Stone, 29 Dec. 2022 Foles, like both Ryan and Ehlinger, is a consummate professional. The Indianapolis Star, 27 Dec. 2022 New manager Nico Estévez also has found Jara to be a consummate professional and plans to give him every opportunity to change games, whether as a starter or as a substitute. Dallas News, 22 Jan. 2022
Verb
For signs that regulators may be saving the studio system from devouring itself, look no further than Warner Bros. Discovery, whose stock has lost more than 60 percent of its value since the merger was consummated. Winston Cho, The Hollywood Reporter, 14 Mar. 2024 The filing asks the US District Court for the Northern District of California for a temporary restraining order that could keep the companies from consummating the acquisition while the FTC’s in-house court is deliberating on the deal. Brian Fung, CNN, 12 June 2023 The Post sources, who requested anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the talks, said negotiations were in early stages and that any deal would take more time to consummate. John Bacon, USA TODAY, 22 Feb. 2024 The love affair between Jules and Cynthia is consummated with a pre-dawn walk and a gentle hand on the shoulder. Emily Langer, Washington Post, 16 Feb. 2024 The attraction is mutual if not consummated, given she’s being pushed to marry one of the more generic interstellar-Quaker types milling about. David Fear, Rolling Stone, 18 Dec. 2023 While Morosi reported a trade could be consummated before the winter meetings, Rosenthal says Getz is prepared to hold onto Cease until late in the off-season. Phil Rogers, Forbes, 30 Nov. 2023 The Patriots acquired Belichick from Gang Green back in the day, eventually making a trade to consummate the move. Jeremy Cluff, The Arizona Republic, 1 Jan. 2024 The sequence consummates with a consommé, clarified using egg white and served to a quietly delighted, even awed, suite of elder gentlemen—Dodin’s fellow worshipers of food. Zachary Barnes, WSJ, 14 Dec. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'consummate.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Adjective and Verb

Middle English consummat fulfilled, from Latin consummatus, past participle of consummare to sum up, finish, from com- + summa sum

First Known Use

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

Verb

circa 1525, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of consummate was in the 15th century

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Dictionary Entries Near consummate

Cite this Entry

“Consummate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/consummate. Accessed 21 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

consummate

1 of 2 adjective
: of the highest degree, quality, or skill
a consummate politician
consummately adverb

consummate

2 of 2 verb
con·​sum·​mate ˈkän(t)-sə-ˌmāt How to pronounce consummate (audio)
consummated; consummating
: to make perfect or complete
consummation
ˌkän(t)-sə-ˈmā-shən
noun

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