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gath·er (găthər)
v. gath·ered, gath·er·ing, gath·ers
v. tr.
a. To collect from different places; assemble: gather the pieces of a puzzle; gather information.
b. To cause to come together; convene: The teacher gathered the students around the exhibit.
c. To draw (something or someone) closer to oneself: gathered the shawl about my shoulders; gathered the child in her arms.
d. To draw into small folds or puckers, as by pulling a thread through cloth.
e. To contract and wrinkle (the brow).
2. To harvest or pick: gather crops; gather mushrooms.
3. To conclude or infer, as from evidence: I gather a decision has not been reached.
4. To summon up; muster: gathered up his courage.
a. To accumulate (something) gradually; amass: The top of the bookshelf gathered dust.
b. To attract or be the center of attraction for: The jugglers gathered a large crowd.
6. To gain by a process of gradual increase: gather speed.
7. To pick up or collect (molten glass) using a tool in glassblowing.
v. intr.
1. To come together in a group; assemble: A crowd gathered in the lobby.
2. To accumulate: Dark clouds are gathering.
3. To grow or increase by degrees: The truck's speed gathered on the downslope.
4. To come to a head, as a boil; fester.
5. To forage for wild foodstuffs.
1. The act or an instance of gathering.
2. Something gathered, especially:
a. A small fold or pucker made by gathering cloth.
b. A mass of molten glass collected on the end of a blowpipe or other glassblowing tool.

[Middle English getheren, gaderen, from Old English gadrian; see ghedh- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]

gather·er n.

Synonyms: gather, collect1, assemble, congregate, accumulate, amass
These verbs mean to bring or come together in a group or aggregate. Gather is the most widely applicable: I gathered sticks for the fire. Clouds gathered in the evening sky. Collect frequently refers to the careful selection of like or related things that become part of an organized whole: She collects stamps as a hobby. In other contexts, collect suggests the gradual process by which similar items or materials come together to form a distinct mass: Dust collected on the shelves. Leaves collected in the gutter. Assemble implies a definite and usually close relationship. With respect to persons, the term suggests convening out of common interest or purpose: Assembling an able staff was more difficult than expected. The reporters assembled for the press conference. With respect to things, assemble implies gathering and fitting together components: The curator is assembling an interesting exhibit of Stone Age artifacts. Congregate refers chiefly to the coming together of a large number of persons or animals: The students congregated after class to compare notes. Accumulate applies to the increase of like or related things over an extended period: They accumulated enough capital to invest. Old newspapers accumulated in the basement. Amass refers to the collection or accumulation of things, often valuable things, to form an imposing quantity: Their families had amassed great fortunes. Rocks had amassed at the bottom of the glacier. See Also Synonyms at reap.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.

Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices

    Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:

    Indo-European Roots

    Semitic Roots

    The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.