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Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English collecten, from Old French collecter, from Medieval Latin collectare (to collect money), from Latin collecta (a collection of money, in Late Latin a meeting, assemblage, in Medieval Latin a tax, also an assembly for prayer, a prayer), feminine of collectus, past participle of colligere, conligere (to gather together, collect, consider, conclude, infer), from com- (together) + legere (to gather).



collect (third-person singular simple present collects, present participle collecting, simple past and past participle collected)

  1. (transitive) To gather together; amass.
    • 2013 July-August, Henry Petroski, “Geothermal Energy”, American Scientist, volume 101, number 4: 
      Energy has seldom been found where we need it when we want it. Ancient nomads, wishing to ward off the evening chill and enjoy a meal around a campfire, had to collect wood and then spend time and effort coaxing the heat of friction out from between sticks to kindle a flame.
    Suzanne collected all the papers she had laid out.
  2. (transitive) To get; particularly, get from someone.
    A bank collects a monthly payment on a client's new car loan.   A mortgage company collects a monthly payment on a house.
  3. (transitive) To accumulate a number of similar or related (objects), particularly for a hobby or recreation.
    John Henry collects stamps.
  4. (transitive, now rare) To form a conclusion; to deduce, infer. (Compare gather, get.)
    • 1992, Hilary Mantel, A Place of Greater Safety, Harper Perennial 2007, p. 292-3:
      the riot is so great that it is very difficult to collect what is being said.
    • John Locke
      [] which sequence, I conceive, is very ill collected.
  5. (intransitive, often with on or against) To collect payments.
    He had a lot of trouble collecting on that bet he made.
  6. (intransitive) To come together in a group or mass.
    The rain collected in puddles.
  7. (intransitive) To collect objects as a hobby.
    I don't think he collects as much as hoards.
  8. (transitive) To infer; to conclude.
    • South
      Whence some collect that the former word imports a plurality of persons.


collect (not comparable)

  1. To be paid for by the recipient, as a telephone call or a shipment.
    It was to be a collect delivery, but no-one was available to pay.


collect (not comparable)

  1. With payment due from the recipient.
    I had to call collect.

Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From Latin "oratio ad collectam" (prayer towards the congregation).


Accented on first syllable.


collect (plural collects) (sometimes capitalized)

  1. (Christianity) The prayer said before the reading of the epistle lesson, especially one found in a prayerbook, as with the Book of Common Prayer.
    He used the day's collect as the basis of his sermon.

External links[edit]