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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web Though Netflix has had success with originals like House of Cards and Stranger Things, a significant bulk of its viewership still gravitates toward comfort-food sitcoms like The Office, Friends, and Parks and Recreation. Isaac Feldberg, Fortune, "Netflix Snags ‘Seinfeld’ in Five-Year Sony Pact," 16 Sep. 2019 While Rosenthal represents the majority of U.S. consumers in her attitude toward grocery shopping, more and more people will gravitate to the online channel in coming years, Mercator Advisory said in its report. Lorraine Mirabella,, "Go to the supermarket? Increasing numbers of Baltimore-area shoppers buy their groceries online instead.," 15 Aug. 2019 In the wake of this sort of injury, might a player like KD gravitate toward the familiar instead of blazing some new trail with a different set of teammates? Rob Mahoney,, "The Entire NBA Changed When Kevin Durant Suffered an Achilles Injury," 11 June 2019 Huguette had been a painter as a young woman, and now her artistic talents gravitated in unexpected directions. Meryl Gordon, Town & Country, "The Curious Life and Shocking Death of Huguette Clark," 21 May 2014 Many people gravitate toward you, but others sense your power and back off., "HAPPY BIRTHDAY," 17 Sep. 2019 As his stature grew, Brown gravitated toward celebrity. Adam Kilgore,, "The NFL wanted a celebration for its 100th season. Instead it got Antonio Brown," 12 Sep. 2019 Safety Alohi Gilman, who transferred from Navy in the summer of 2017, gravitated toward Lyght from his earliest days on campus. Mike Berardino, Indianapolis Star, "Notre Dame great Todd Lyght pays it forward with new generation of cornerbacks," 1 Sep. 2019 These days, the congregation is down to 25 or 30 mostly Filipino members, in a neighborhood whose demographics are changing and whose newer, younger families may not gravitate toward old-fashioned churchgoing. Los Angeles Times, "Column: Gentrification opened a rift between an L.A. church and a children’s center. Can they both survive?," 30 Aug. 2019

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.

See More

First Known Use of gravitate

1692, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about gravitate

Listen to Our Podcast about gravitate

Statistics for gravitate

Last Updated

5 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for gravitate

The first known use of gravitate was in 1692

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on gravitate

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for gravitate

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with gravitate

Spanish Central: Translation of gravitate

Nglish: Translation of gravitate for Spanish Speakers

Comments on gravitate

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


the exactly right word or phrasing

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Pass the Little Ribbons: A Pasta Word Quiz

  • rotelle pasta
  • Match the pasta to its meaning in English: Rotelle
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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