1 of 2


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


2 of 2


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

transitive verb

: to make (marital union) complete by sexual intercourse
consummate a marriage
: finish, complete
consummate a business deal
: to make perfect
: 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
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 See all Example Sentences for consummate 

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


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


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3


circa 1525, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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


Dictionary Entries Near consummate

Cite this Entry

“Consummate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


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


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

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