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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for gratify


Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Did You Know?

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 For Goring, returning to work was not only gratifying, but also relieving. oregonlive, "As Oregon gyms get green light to reopen, owners scramble to meet strict coronavirus safety protocols," 20 May 2020 On one hand, few things are as innately gratifying as banging with sticks to keep a beat. Popular Science, "The best electronic drum kits for music production," 22 Jan. 2020 Three versions stay in heavy rotation: chicken with mole negro, chicken with tomatillo sauce and a standout jalapeño-and-cheese variation that’s extra gratifying when bathed in softly spicy red salsa. Los Angeles Times, "20 great L.A. places for Mexican food delivery and takeout," 3 Apr. 2020 The politicians seem unlikely to gratify their desires. The Economist, "Bougainville has voted for independence, but may not get it," 18 Dec. 2019 No kindred spirit of self-sacrifice has been mobilized to gratify Schwarzman’s infamous edifice-complex, as insatiable as that of the founder of Trump University and Trump towers and casinos. Jim Sleeper, The New Republic, "The Tragedy of the Yale Commons," 12 Dec. 2019 Or lose the talent to make stirring, highly gratifying music. Pablo Gorondi,, "Review: Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey return to The Who’s rocking ways," 6 Dec. 2019 To hit both of those things today at Nebraska was particularly gratifying, particularly knowing Nebraska’s staff had no respect for our program. Zach Osterman, Indianapolis Star, "Fred Glass vindicated in Tom Allen decision: IU 'program is going in the right direction'," 27 Oct. 2019 The plan shows gratifying respect for the original features and finishes and restores elements that have been lost or hidden. Brian T. Allen, National Review, "Cecil Beaton’s Bright Young Things," 14 Mar. 2020

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about gratify

Time Traveler for gratify

Time Traveler

The first known use of gratify was in 1539

See more words from the same year

Statistics for gratify

Last Updated

31 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Gratify.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jun. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for gratify


How to pronounce gratify (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of gratify

: to make (someone) happy or satisfied
: to do or give whatever is wanted or demanded by (someone or something)


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.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on gratify

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for gratify

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with gratify

Spanish Central: Translation of gratify

Nglish: Translation of gratify for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of gratify for Arabic Speakers

Comments on gratify

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


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

May 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a blooming wisteria tree
  • Which is a synonym of exiguous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!