Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A collection; an aggregation: "Our city, it should be explained, is two cities, or more—an urban mass or congeries divided by the river” ( John Updike).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A collection or aggregation of disparate items.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A collection of particles or bodies into one mass; a heap; an aggregation.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • A collection of several particles or bodies in one mass or aggregate; an assemblage or accumulation of things; a combination; an aggregation; a heap.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a sum total of many heterogenous things taken together

Etymologies

Latin congeriēs, from congerere, to heap up; see congest.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin congeriēs ("heap, mass, pile"), from congerō ("I carry together"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • A book can be a collection of linked stories, or it can be an episodic novel whose chapters have sufficient unity to have been first published separately such as Faulkner's "The Unvanquished", and both are just dandy, but the form I call a congeries hovers somewhere in between.

    And the Term is . . . Congeries

  • Sir Alfred Lyall's employment of the term _Brahmanism_ rather than _Hinduism_, is in keeping with his description of Hinduism, which he defines as the congeries of diverse local beliefs and practices that are held together by the employment of brahmans as priests.

    New Ideas in India During the Nineteenth Century A Study of Social, Political, and Religious Developments

  • (ko-uji) may be described as a congeries of from fifty to ninety blood relations.

    A History of the Japanese People From the Earliest Times to the End of the Meiji Era

  • With its congeries of black sheep constituencies (Alex Jones Libertarian populists, movement leftists, anarchists, white supremacists, New World Order reactionaries, Protocols of the Elders of Zion anti-Semites, crusading architects and theologians) and its lack of a dominant leader or organization, the 9/11 Movement will likely never become unified enough to tear itself apart.

    9/11 Truth and the Paranoid Style - Boing Boing

  • Others feared complete disintegration, with the Midwest, the mid-Atlantic states and New England going their separate ways, creating a congeries of competing or even warring states—a North American "Balkans"—that would fall prey to foreign interference.

    How America's Civil War Changed the World

  • These purposes may be various and many, but one and all, ever discovering new mutual interests and objects, obeying a law which is beyond them, these petty aggregations draw closer together, forming greater aggregations and congeries of aggregations.

    The Shrinkage of the Planet

  • These very mirages are the unthinkable and incalculable congeries of appearances that crowd in upon you and form you out of the past, and that sweep you on into dissemination into other unthinkable and incalculable congeries of appearances to people the ghost land of the future.

    Chapter 36

  • If literary texts cannot claim to embody universal or unmediated or noncontingent truth because everything is an artifact of incidental human activity, I cannot see any logically disallowed reason why one such activity could not be the study of literary texts for their posited "literary" qualities conceived as separate from their status as cultural representations, congeries of historical forces, conduits of sociological information, or whatever else works of literature can be considered good for.

    Art and Culture

  • On Saturday afternoon, at the park's western edge, a small group of citizens with connections to the military were standing next to a congeries of drummers, holding banners and signs that called for peace.

    Eamon Murphy: Opposing the Wars at Occupy Wall Street

  • It was a terrible, indescribable thing vaster than any subway train - a shapeless congeries of protoplasmic bubbles, faintly self-luminous, and with myriads of temporary eyes forming and un-forming as pustules of greenish light all over the tunnel-filling front that bore down upon us, crushing the frantic penguins and slithering over the glistening floor that it and its kind had swept so evilly free of all litter.

    The Lovecraft News Network

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • According to OED, congery is considered a "false singular" derived from this form. The etymology of congeries is listed as follows: "a. L. congeriēs heap, pile, collected mass, f. congerĕre to carry together: see CONGEST."

    December 2, 2008

  • Only found in plural form?

    November 30, 2008

  • "'But Islam is a world as varied as our own miserable congeries of hostile sects...'"
    --Patrick O'Brian, The Hundred Days, 20

    March 20, 2008

  • a collection or accumulation of things seen as a whole.

    January 14, 2007