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


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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 Gustav revealed that Marie was Alma’s middle name and Freud, presumably, was gratified. Cathleen Schine, The New York Review of Books, "It Had to Be Her," 7 Jan. 2020 The Star Wars cycle is the answer—a quest for the primal structure of society and family and identity that, in the process, would also gratify those in desperate need of such answers. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, "The Robotic Familiarity of “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”," 19 Dec. 2019 But there’s also a place for music free of such things, music that’s directly and simply gratifying, in and of itself. Zachary Lewis, cleveland, "Cleveland Orchestra, Sachs delight with slate of untroubled Classical standards," 22 Nov. 2019 The Safdies were gratified to see images on Twitter of fans dressed as Howard for Halloween—six weeks before the movie came out. Kelefa Sanneh, The New Yorker, "The Safdie Brothers’ Full-Immersion Filmmaking," 9 Dec. 2019 Similarly, inquiries about family or friends’ whereabouts or emotions can be instantly gratified by texting or checking social media. Jelena Kecmanovic, The Conversation, "5 tips for surviving in an increasingly uncertain world," 23 Oct. 2019 The industry’s acceptance of Koffee has been gratifying in part because of how infrequently women have been championed inside and outside of the business. Kevin L. Clark, Essence, "Meet Koffee, Reggae's Next Big Ting," 4 Nov. 2019 Yale’s acceptance of Adam and Rebecca gratified Kobliner, who had applied there herself and been rejected. Daniel Golden, ProPublica, "The Hedge Fund Billionaire’s Guide to Buying Your Kids a Better Shot at Not Just One Elite College, but Lots of Them," 28 Sep. 2019 Without devotion, belief becomes grounded in little more than trivial gratification—and gets outcompeted by the multitude of things that are far more trivially gratifying. WSJ, "Where Did All the Faith Go?," 9 July 2019

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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Time Traveler for gratify

Time Traveler

The first known use of gratify was in 1539

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Statistics for gratify

Last Updated

12 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Gratify.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 22 January 2020.

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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.

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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

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to help to grow, develop, or succeed

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