grat·​i·​fy | \ ˈgra-tə-ˌfī How to pronounce gratify (audio) \
gratified; gratifying

Definition of gratify

transitive verb

1 : to be a source of or give pleasure or satisfaction to it gratified him to have his wife wear jewels— Willa Cather
2 : to give in to : indulge, satisfy gratify a whim
3 archaic : remunerate, reward

Synonyms for gratify


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A gratifying experience is quietly pleasing or satisfying. But gratifying an impulse means giving in to it, which isn't always such a good idea, and "instant gratification" of every desire will result in a life based on junk food and worse. Truly gratifying experiences and accomplishments usually are the result of time and effort.

Examples of gratify in a Sentence

A guilty verdict would gratify the victim's relatives. He's only concerned with gratifying his own desires.
Recent Examples on the Web The student will probably lie and say that the boy-in-mind had finally broken his statue pose, maybe shown some emotion like fear, the better to gratify Shara. Han Ong, The New Yorker, 18 July 2022 Brooks didn’t know how to gratify his master, and therefore was killed. Timothy Noah, The New Republic, 22 Apr. 2022 Benedetta and Bartolomea awaken and gratify each other’s desires, at times making strategic use of a sacred figurine that has been retooled to heighten their pleasure and, of course, to offend those with more parochial sensibilities in the audience. Los Angeles Times, 3 Dec. 2021 Jennifer’s literal survival depends (for supernatural reasons) on her ability to gratify her vampiric, cannibalistic hungers, and thus to pursue her revenge plot unimpeded. Richard Brod, The New Yorker, 1 Sep. 2021 Protecting the liberty of the people ranks lower than the legislators’ desire to gratify their own vain ambitions by doling out privileges and cash. Lance Christensen, National Review, 14 May 2021 Each camp of Democrats thus has a responsibility to learn from, if not gratify, the other. Michael Kazin, The New Republic, 11 Feb. 2021 Porter was in a position to provide information to a reporter but dictated terms that would gratify him and degrade her. Los Angeles Times, 21 Jan. 2021 Bailey’s family tearfully told 3rd District Judge Paul Parker how French had begun manipulating the young teenager in order to gratify himself. Jessica Miller, The Salt Lake Tribune, 25 Aug. 2020 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'gratify.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of gratify

1539, in the meaning defined at sense 3

History and Etymology for gratify

Middle French gratifier, from Latin gratificari to show kindness to, from gratus + -ificari, passive of -ificare -ify

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Time Traveler for gratify

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The first known use of gratify was in 1539

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Last Updated

31 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Gratify.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for gratify


grat·​i·​fy | \ ˈgra-tə-ˌfī How to pronounce gratify (audio) \
gratified; gratifying

Kids Definition of gratify

1 : to give pleasure or satisfaction to The loud applause gratified her.
2 : to do or give whatever is wanted by He only wants to gratify his wishes.

More from Merriam-Webster on gratify

Nglish: Translation of gratify for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of gratify for Arabic Speakers


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