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

transitive verb

: to be a source of or give pleasure or satisfaction to
it gratified him to have his wife wear jewelsWilla Cather
: to give in to : indulge, satisfy
gratify a whim
archaic : remunerate, reward

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 Donald Trump secured a gratifying victory in South Carolina on Saturday that sends a warning message to Nikki Haley's underdog campaign: Even in your home state, the Republican Party wants me. Kyler Alvord, Peoplemag, 25 Feb. 2024 Those changes gratified some business organizations and their henchpersons in Congress, but disturbed environmental groups. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 8 Mar. 2024 She’s been gratified by the response to the book, now in a second printing, around the country. Ellen Piligian, Detroit Free Press, 7 Jan. 2024 Self-employment can be intense, frustrating, and tiring at times while also being rewarding, gratifying, and enriching. Joseph Liu, Forbes, 19 Feb. 2024 For those of us who have been eating patty melts for years, seeing all these new versions is both gratifying and disconcerting. Pete Wells, New York Times, 30 Jan. 2024 The sumptuous ship makes for a visually gratifying locked-room mystery, and Beane holds her own as Patinkin’s skeptical mentee and PI-in-training. Lili Loofbourow, Washington Post, 22 Jan. 2024 The experience was also gratifying for Smith, who has developed a rapport and friendship with Jones. David Chiu, Peoplemag, 18 Jan. 2024 Seeing the improvements has been gratifying, Herrera said. Calmatters, The Mercury News, 2 Jan. 2024

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

Word History


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

First Known Use

1539, in the meaning defined at sense 3

Time Traveler
The first known use of gratify was in 1539

Dictionary Entries Near gratify

Cite this Entry

“Gratify.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


grat·​i·​fy ˈgrat-ə-ˌfī How to pronounce gratify (audio)
gratified; gratifying
: to give or be a source of pleasure or satisfaction to
: to grant a favor to : indulge

More from Merriam-Webster on gratify

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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