grat·​i·​fy ˈgra-tə-ˌfī How to pronounce gratify (audio)
gratified; gratifying

transitive verb

: to be a source of or give pleasure or satisfaction to
it gratified him to have his wife wear jewels Willa Cather
: to give in to : indulge, satisfy
gratify a whim
archaic : remunerate, reward

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.

Example Sentences

A guilty verdict would gratify the victim's relatives. He's only concerned with gratifying his own desires.
Recent Examples on the Web The new brain technologies can regulate behavior and thought in ways that, bioethicist Sara Goering notes, would gratify advertisers. Sheri Linden, The Hollywood Reporter, 4 Sep. 2022 But it’s the houses that surprise visitors and gratify us, even if they can only be glimpsed from a street or a sidewalk. Patt Morrison, Los Angeles Times, 16 Aug. 2022 The student will probably lie and say that the boy-in-mind had finally broken his statue pose, maybe shown some emotion like fear, the better to gratify Shara. Han Ong, The New Yorker, 18 July 2022 Brooks didn’t know how to gratify his master, and therefore was killed. Timothy Noah, The New Republic, 22 Apr. 2022 Benedetta and Bartolomea awaken and gratify each other’s desires, at times making strategic use of a sacred figurine that has been retooled to heighten their pleasure and, of course, to offend those with more parochial sensibilities in the audience. Los Angeles Times, 3 Dec. 2021 Jennifer’s literal survival depends (for supernatural reasons) on her ability to gratify her vampiric, cannibalistic hungers, and thus to pursue her revenge plot unimpeded. Richard Brod, The New Yorker, 1 Sep. 2021 Protecting the liberty of the people ranks lower than the legislators’ desire to gratify their own vain ambitions by doling out privileges and cash. Lance Christensen, National Review, 14 May 2021 Each camp of Democrats thus has a responsibility to learn from, if not gratify, the other. Michael Kazin, The New Republic, 11 Feb. 2021 See More

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.

Word History


Middle French gratifier, from Latin gratificari to show kindness to, from gratus + -ificari, passive of -ificare -ify

First Known Use

1539, in the meaning defined at sense 3

Time Traveler
The first known use of gratify was in 1539

Dictionary Entries Near gratify

Cite this Entry

“Gratify.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Nov. 2022.

Kids Definition



grat·​i·​fy ˈgrat-ə-ˌfī How to pronounce gratify (audio)
gratified; gratifying
: to give or be a source of pleasure or satisfaction to
: to grant a favor to : indulge

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