con·​sum·​mate | \ ˈkän(t)-sə-mət How to pronounce consummate (audio) , kən-ˈsə-mət How to pronounce consummate (audio) \

Definition of consummate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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


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

Definition of consummate (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to make (marital union) complete by sexual intercourse consummate a marriage
2a : 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

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Other Words from consummate


consummately adverb


consummative \ ˈkän(t)-​sə-​ˌmā-​tiv How to pronounce consummative (audio) , kən-​ˈsə-​mə-​tiv How to pronounce consummative (audio) \ adjective
consummator \ ˈkän(t)-​sə-​ˌmāt-​ər How to pronounce consummator (audio) \ noun

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


… 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, l978 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


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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The consummate host is always on the move, circulating with guests and, of course, topping off glasses. Sara Mae Albert, Harper's BAZAAR, "How to Plan a Casual Chic Dinner Party," 2 Aug. 2019 Since that war Mr Haradinaj has translated his consummate skill at staying alive physically to staying alive politically. The Economist, "Kosovo’s prime minister faces war-crimes allegations," 25 July 2019 This was the heartfelt work of a consummate professional, a performance as sincere and moving as anyone’s. Zachary Lewis,, "Heat prompts Cleveland Orchestra to rise on humid evenings at Blossom," 22 July 2019 Ever the consummate professional, Patty had only taken a short leave of absence for surgeries to treat breast cancer before returning to work., "Community News For The Farmington Valley Edition," 22 July 2019 The man is a consummate professional who has studied and honed his craft through good seasons and bad with the Twins, the Brewers and, since 1996, the Cubs. Phil Rosenthal,, "Column: ‘Future Hall of Famer’ is practically part of Pat Hughes’ name. But will he get the call next year?," 18 July 2019 It’s hard to nail down any region in a record, period, even for a consummate pop rock writer like Petty. Michael Washburn, Longreads, "Tom Petty’s Problematic Album Southern Accents," 9 July 2019 Jayne was the consummate hostess—one who discreetly asked her guests about their favorite flowers, which would soon miraculously materialize in their rooms. Hamish Bowles, Vogue, "Hamish Bowles Remembers Jayne Wrightsman, Esteemed Arts Connoisseur and Legendary Hostess," 24 Apr. 2019 And probably nobody could have sold the government and the public on bailing out Chrysler in the 1970s than Lee Iacocca, the nation's consummate salesman. John Gallagher, Detroit Free Press, "Lee Iacocca wasn't perfect: 3 times the auto icon got it all wrong," 6 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

After a process, Israel did agree to honor her — but this was never consummated: Hilde Zadek never got back to Israel and did not receive the honor. Jay Nordlinger, National Review, "Hilde Zadek’s Last Wishes," 26 July 2019 What if, instead of using the Lakers threat to create a Clippers imperative, Kawhi had successfully convinced George to request a trade, but then signed with the Clippers before any OKC deal was consummated? Andrew Sharp,, "NBA Stars Have More Power Than Ever, But How Well Are They Using It?," 16 July 2019 The Bucks, which owe their 2020 first-round pick to the Phoenix Suns, aren't allowed to trade back-to-back future first-round picks but can pick for the Pistons on Thursday then consummate the trade afterward. Matt Velazquez, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Bucks trade Tony Snell and 30th pick to Pistons for Jon Leuer," 19 June 2019 Louisville Courier Journal The parties looking to consummate a deal to sell Jewish Hospital and other facilities in Louisville have missed one deadline and are working to reach terms by June 14. Morgan Watkins, The Courier-Journal, "The deadline on the Jewish Hospital-University of Louisville deal has been extended," 18 Jan. 2019 According to custom in these conservative Hindu communities, while weddings are often solemnized at very young ages, a bride typically is sent to live with her husband’s family and consummate the union in her teens. Author: Shashank Bengali, Anchorage Daily News, "In India, ‘child marriage is like a disease’," 24 June 2018 Florence and her husband of only a few hours, Edward Mayhew (Billy Howle), have traveled to a seaside hotel to consummate their union., "On Chesil Beach Review: Can You Have Love Without Sex?," 16 May 2018 No person shall deliver a firearm to another person to consummate a sale when the transaction is subject to the waiting period until the seller has complied with all of the provisions requiring a criminal history check of the prospective buyer. Stephen Hudak,, "Orange County aims to close gun-law 'loophole,' require background checks," 8 May 2018 On the morning of June 4, 2010, the day that the deal was supposed to be consummated, Chris sent a cautionary e-mail to his attorney. James Vlahos, GQ, "The Mystery of the Killer Vacation," 18 Apr. 2018

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


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3


circa 1525, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for consummate

Adjective and Verb

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

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Statistics for consummate

Last Updated

9 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for consummate

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

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More Definitions for consummate



English Language Learners Definition of consummate

: to make (a marriage or romantic relationship) complete by having sex
: to make (something) perfect or complete

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Comments on consummate

What made you want to look up consummate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to make or get by devious means

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