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From Middle English gaderen, from Old English gaderian (to gather, assemble), from Proto-West Germanic *gadurōn (to bring together, unite, gather), from Proto-Indo-European *gʰedʰ- (to unite, assemble, keep).



gather (third-person singular simple present gathers, present participle gathering, simple past and past participle gathered)

  1. To collect; normally separate things.
    I've been gathering ideas from the people I work with.
    She bent down to gather the reluctant cat from beneath the chair.
    1. Especially, to harvest food.
      We went to gather some blackberries from the nearby lane.
    2. To accumulate over time, to amass little by little.
      Over the years he'd gathered a considerable collection of mugs.
    3. (intransitive) To congregate, or assemble.
      People gathered round as he began to tell his story.
    4. (intransitive) To grow gradually larger by accretion.
  2. To bring parts of a whole closer.
    She gathered the shawl about her as she stepped into the cold.
    1. (sewing) To add pleats or folds to a piece of cloth, normally to reduce its width.
      A gown should be gathered around the top so that it will remain shaped.
    2. (knitting) To bring stitches closer together.
      Be careful not to stretch or gather your knitting.
      If you want to emphasise the shape, it is possible to gather the waistline.
    3. (architecture) To bring together, or nearer together, in masonry, as for example where the width of a fireplace is rapidly diminished to the width of the flue.
    4. (nautical) To haul in; to take up.
      to gather the slack of a rope
  3. To infer or conclude; to know from a different source.
    From his silence, I gathered that things had not gone well.
    I gather from Aunty May that you had a good day at the match.
    • 1960 January, “Talking of Trains: The Seven Bridge disaster”, in Trains Illustrated, page 5:
      Press reports of the length of time the bridge is likely to be out of action vary greatly, but Mr. Farr gathers that a temporary structure may be ready in six months; complete reconstruction, however, will take at least two years. [It was never rebuilt or replaced, and demolished instead.]
  4. (intransitive, medicine, of a boil or sore) To be filled with pus
    Salt water can help boils to gather and then burst.
  5. (glassblowing) To collect molten glass on the end of a tool.
  6. To gain; to win.


Derived terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


gather (plural gathers)

  1. A plait or fold in cloth, made by drawing a thread through it; a pucker.
  2. The inclination forward of the axle journals to keep the wheels from working outward.
  3. (masonry) The soffit or under surface of the masonry required in gathering. See gather#verb.
  4. (glassblowing) A blob of molten glass collected on the end of a blowpipe.
  5. A gathering.
    • 2007, John Barnes, The Sky So Big and Black, Tor Books, →ISBN:
      "I'll tell you all about it at the Gather, win or lose."
    • 2014, Paul Lederer, Dark Angel Riding, Open Road Media, →ISBN:
      What bothered him more, he thought as he started Washoe southward, was Spikes's animosity, the bearded man's sudden violent reaction to his arrival at the gather.

Derived terms[edit]