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

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Synonyms for gratify


cater (to), humor, indulge

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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

The arc of this cheery, encouraging story will gratify any fairyland devotee who is struggling to master a new skill. Meghan Cox Gurdon, WSJ, "Children’s Books: Tales Told in Many Tongues," 3 Jan. 2019 The feeling of the ball hitting the pins, hearing and seeing them fall down, is deeply gratifying. Maude Campbell, Popular Mechanics, "Want to Become an Excellent Bowler? Here's Everything You Need to Know.," 27 Nov. 2018 But what’s most unexpectedly gratifying is how much energy veteran standup director Jeff Tomsic and his splashy cast pour into ensuring that this is legit entertainment, packed with gonzo wit and even some sentiment. Tom Russo,, "Looking for just the right touch in ‘Tag’," 13 June 2018 As gratifying as 2017-18 was for the New Orleans Pelicans, the road ahead will only get tougher for a franchise hoping to take the next step. William Guillory,, "Can continuity be the key to Pelicans' future success?," 12 May 2018 To get people reacquainted with me has been challenging but also gratifying. David Peisner, Billboard, "Big Boi on Hip-Hop's Evolution, Acting In 'Superfly' & Working With L.A. Reid," 3 May 2018 After Asian roles in Hollywood have been whitewashed by Emma Stone and Scarlett Johansson, Crazy Rich Asians’ box office win is gratifying proof that diversity on the big screen does, indeed, sell. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Michelle Yeoh Hopes Crazy Rich Asians Will Turn the Trickle of Diversity in Hollywood "Into a Stream"," 27 Aug. 2018 Attorney General Josh Shapiro, whose office prosecuted Spanier, said his office was gratified by the decision. NBC News, "Ex-Penn State president Spanier, convicted over Sandusky complaint, loses appeal," 26 June 2018 As Memorial Day nears, she is gratified that Jess Thomas and six other south Lake County veterans killed in action are being honored on 30- by 80-inch banners that have been hung along eastbound State Road 50 in Groveland, 30 miles west of Orlando. Lisa Maria Garza,, "South Lake County veterans 'who gave all' honored with Memorial Day banners," 24 May 2018

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.

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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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Statistics for gratify

Last Updated

23 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for gratify

The first known use of gratify was in 1539

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More Definitions for gratify



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.

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More from Merriam-Webster on gratify

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with gratify

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for gratify

Spanish Central: Translation of gratify

Nglish: Translation of gratify for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of gratify for Arabic Speakers

Comments on gratify

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