from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The act of assembling.
  • noun A body of assembled people or things; a gathering.
  • noun A group of people gathered for religious worship.
  • noun The members of a specific religious group who regularly worship at a church or synagogue.
  • noun A religious institute in which only simple vows, not solemn vows, are taken.
  • noun A division of the Curia.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The coming together of the elements of a population by immigration, as opposed to the growth of a population by a birth-rate in excess of a death-rate.
  • noun The act of congregating; the act of bringing together or assembling; aggregation.
  • noun Any collection or assemblage of persons or things.
  • noun Specifically In the Old Testament, the whole body of the Hebrews, as a community gathered and set apart for the service of God; in the New Testament, the Christian church in general, or a particular assemblage of worshipers.
  • noun In modern use, an assemblage of persons for religious worship and instruction; in a restricted sense, a number of persons organized or associated as a body for the purpose of holding religious services in common. See parish and society.
  • noun Formerly, in the English colonies of North America, a parish, hundred, town, plantation, or other settlement.
  • noun In the Rom. Cath. Ch.: One of the committees of cardinals appointed by the pope to aid him in the transaction of the business of the church.
  • noun A religious community bound together by a common rule, but not by the solemn and irrevocable vows which characterize the monastic orders. Among them are the Oratorians, the Dames Anglaises, the Fathers of the Mission or Lazarists, the Oblates, the Passionists, the Redemptorists, the Marists, and the Christian Brothers. (See Christian Brothers, under Christian.)
  • noun A group of monasteries which agree to practise the rules of their order more strictly in their respective houses, and unite themselves together by closer ties, such as the congregations of Cluny and St. Maur.
  • noun A committee of bishops appointed by the pope, or with his approbation, to prepare rules of business, etc., for a general council.
  • noun See Lords of the Congregation, below.
  • noun In universities, the body of the masters regent.
  • noun In falconry, a flock or flight of plovers.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun The act of congregating, or bringing together, or of collecting into one aggregate or mass.
  • noun A collection or mass of separate things.
  • noun An assembly of persons; a gathering; esp. an assembly of persons met for the worship of God, and for religious instruction; a body of people who habitually so meet.
  • noun (Anc. Jewish Hist.) The whole body of the Jewish people; -- called also Congregation of the Lord.
  • noun A body of cardinals or other ecclesiastics to whom as intrusted some department of the church business.
  • noun A company of religious persons forming a subdivision of a monastic order.
  • noun engraving The assemblage of Masters and Doctors at Oxford or Cambrige University, mainly for the granting of degrees.
  • noun (Scotch Church Hist.) the name assumed by the Protestant party under John Knox. The leaders called themselves (1557) Lords of the Congregation.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A gathering of faithful in a temple, church, synagogue, mosque or other place of worship. It can also refer to the people who are present at a devotional service in the building, particularly in contrast to the pastor, minister, imam, rabbi etc. and/or choir, who may be seated apart from the general congregation or lead the service (notably in responsary form).
  • noun A Roman Congregation, a main department of the Vatican administration of the universal church
  • noun A corporate body whose members gather for worship, or the members of such a body.
  • noun Any large gathering of people
  • noun The collective noun for eagles.

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

  • noun the act of congregating
  • noun a group of people who adhere to a common faith and habitually attend a given church
  • noun an assemblage of people or animals or things collected together


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin congregātiō, from congregare "to herd together", itself from com- "together" + gregare "to collect into a flock, gather" (from grex "a flock, herd"); adopted c.1340 by the English Bible translator William Tyndale, to render the Greek (ekklesia) ('those called together, (popular) meeting'; hence Latin ecclesia 'church') in his New Testament, and preferred by 16th century Reformers instead of church


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  • Its quite obvious that someone within the congregation is there - probably every Sunday, waiting for that one sermon to happen.

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  • As Rehnquist wrote in the majority decision, Training someone to lead a congregation is an essentially religious endeavor.

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  • As Rehnquist wrote in the majority decision, Training someone to lead a congregation is an essentially religious endeavor.

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  • Other scenes, such as when a church congregation is urged to pray over a cardboard George W. Bush cutout, are almost too bizarre to believe.

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  • Other scenes, such as when a church congregation is urged to pray over a cardboard George W. Bush cutout, are almost too bizarre to believe.

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  • A sojourning congregation is no longer ecclesiastical.

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  • The concept of the Church's catholicity was a good two centuries old by Nicea ... interestingly, (and I think someone like Möhler offers a cock-eyed interpretation of Ignatius on this), Ignatius sets up an analogy whereby the congregation is found with the bishop just as "wherever Jesus Christ is, there also is the katholike ekklesia."

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  • c1374 CHAUCER Boeth. III. ii. 65 By the congregacioun of alle goodes.

    June 2, 2008