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Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English collecten, a borrowing 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).


  • IPA(key): /kəˈlɛkt/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɛkt


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”, in 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.
    The team uses special equipment to collect data on temperature, wind speed and rainfall.
  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.
    I don't think he collects as much as hoards.
    My friend from school has started to collects mangas and novels recently
  4. (transitive, now rare) To form a conclusion; to deduce, infer. (Compare gather, get.)
    • 1690, John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, Book II, Chapter XVII, section 20
      [] which consequence, I conceive, is very ill collected.
    • c 1725, John Walker, ‎William Burton (of Bloomsbury), Essays and correspondence, chiefly on Scriptural subjects:
      From the latter passages we may collect, that the expression "he that cometh" was, with the Jews, a kind of title distinguishing the Messiah
    • 1814, Jane Austen, Mansfield Park:
      'I collect,' said Miss Crawford, 'that Sotherton is an old place, and a place of some grandeur. In any particular style of building?'
    • 1992, Hilary Mantel, A Place of Greater Safety, Harper Perennial 2007, page 292-3:
      the riot is so great that it is very difficult to collect what is being said.
  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. (transitive) To infer; to conclude.
    • (Can we date this quote by South and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
      Whence some collect that the former word imports a plurality of persons.
  8. (transitive, of a vehicle or driver) To collide with or crash into (another vehicle or obstacle).
    The truck veered across the central reservation and collected a car that was travelling in the opposite direction.




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]

English Wikipedia has an article on:

From Latin ōrātiō ad collectam (prayer towards the congregation).



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.

Further reading[edit]