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

Perhaps readers were gratified to see a Times columnist go on record against pagan lawlessness, but the talk of treason continued. James Freeman, WSJ, "Donald Trump and the New York Times," 20 June 2019 Laments about Disneyland-like congestion would likely be gratifying news for SeaWorld Entertainment executives, who continue to explore new ways to boost attendance at their parks. San Diego Union-Tribune, "SeaWorld is finally making a comeback but will PETA’s dolphin campaign stall the rebound?," 22 June 2019 Fatherhood has, and continues to be, both a demanding and gratifying endeavor. National Geographic, "Enjoy Father's Day? Thank the woman who spent 62 years campaigning for it.," 17 June 2019 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

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

13 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

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

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


food or victuals

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