grav·​i·​tate | \ ˈgra-və-ˌtāt How to pronounce gravitate (audio) \
gravitated; gravitating

Definition of gravitate

intransitive verb

1 : to move under the influence of gravitation
2a : to move toward something
b : to be drawn or attracted especially by natural inclination youngsters … gravitate toward a strong leader— Rose Friedman

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Did You Know?

English has several weighty words descended from the Latin gravitas, meaning "weight." The first to arrive on the scene was "gravity," which appeared in the early 16th century. (Originally meaning "dignity or sobriety of bearing," it quickly came to mean "weight" as well.) Next came "gravitation" (used to describe the force of gravity) and "gravitate" - both mid-17th century arrivals. "Gravitate" once meant "to apply weight or pressure," but that use is now obsolete. In the late 17th century, it was recorded in the sense "to move under the effect of gravitation." It then acquired a more general sense of "to move toward something" (as toward a specific location), and finally a metaphorical third sense of "to be attracted" (as toward a person or a vocation).

Examples of gravitate in a Sentence

The guests gravitated toward the far side of the room. The conversation gravitated to politics. Voters have started gravitating to him as a possible candidate. Many young people now gravitate toward careers in the computer industry.
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Recent Examples on the Web For some children, this can mean picking out a pretty journal that reflects their personality (my daughter once chose a journal covered in pink sequins), while others may gravitate toward a pen that feels good to write with. Washington Post, "How (and why) to start a journaling practice with kids," 2 Dec. 2020 GlobalData's Saunders says Target will help Ulta expand its reach with the younger shoppers who tend to gravitate to Sephora, as well as the more casual beauty buyer. Phil Wahba, Fortune, "Ulta’s plan to open mini shops in 100 Targets could create a new beauty superpower," 10 Nov. 2020 People will probably gravitate back to their old mobility behavior as the pandemic fades, said Ms. Leenen of SCI Verkehr. New York Times, "Who Takes the Eurostar? Almost No One, as the Pandemic Fuels a Rail Crisis," 21 Dec. 2020 Sokol said readers gravitate to different parts of the book. Steve Smith,, "Longtime Asnuntuck professor talks about latest book," 11 Dec. 2020 Summer female flocks include male as well as female poults, but by summer’s end and autumn, as the young males outgrow their mothers, most of them gravitate to boys' clubs. Laura Erickson, Popular Science, "Three love stories about birds that will delight your heart," 6 Nov. 2020 Budget-conscious people and casual gamers will probably gravitate toward the $300 Xbox Series S, which runs games at a lower resolution and can play a plethora of older Xbox titles available for a low cost. Mike Isaac, New York Times, "PlayStation 5 Review: Sony’s New Console Is an Entertaining Behemoth," 6 Nov. 2020 Customers will gravitate to eateries that promote safe dining – and restaurants will entice them by hyping their upgrades on social media. Phillip Valys,, "‘Leaner and meaner’: 5 ways South Florida restaurants will adapt, survive and evolve in 2021," 25 Nov. 2020 Shying away from the spotlight, Dumas appreciated Barkley because people would gravitate Barkley's way and leave him be. Duane Rankin, The Arizona Republic, "Phoenix Suns: Richard Dumas on drugs, playing with Charles Barkley, against Michael Jordan," 25 Nov. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'gravitate.' 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 gravitate

1692, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for gravitate

Time Traveler

The first known use of gravitate was in 1692

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Statistics for gravitate

Last Updated

15 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Gravitate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for gravitate


How to pronounce gravitate (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of gravitate

: to move or tend to move to or toward someone or something
: to be attracted to or toward something or someone


grav·​i·​tate | \ ˈgra-və-ˌtāt How to pronounce gravitate (audio) \
gravitated; gravitating

Kids Definition of gravitate

: to move or be drawn toward something
grav·​i·​tate | \ ˈgrav-ə-ˌtāt How to pronounce gravitate (audio) \
gravitated; gravitating

Medical Definition of gravitate

: to move under the influence of gravitation

More from Merriam-Webster on gravitate

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for gravitate

Nglish: Translation of gravitate for Spanish Speakers

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