v. gath·ered, gath·er·ing, gath·ers
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 glass blowing.
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 glass-blowing tool.
[Middle English getheren, gaderen, from Old English gadrian; see ghedh- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
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 ©2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.
American Heritage Dictionary Products
The American Heritage Dictionary, 5th Edition
The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms
The American Heritage Roget's Thesaurus
Curious George's Dictionary
The American Heritage Children's Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots
The American Heritage Student Grammar Dictionary
The American Heritage Desk Dictionary + Thesaurus
The American Heritage Science Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Business Terms
The American Heritage Student Dictionary
The American Heritage Essential Student Thesaurus