mid-15c. (implied in congregated), "accumulate," originally of fluids in the body, from Latin congregatus, past participle of congregare "to herd together, collect in a flock, swarm; assemble," from assimilated form of com "together" (see con-) + gregare "to collect into a flock, gather," from grex (genitive gregis) "a flock" (from PIE root *ger- "to gather").
Of persons, "collect or bring together in an assembly," 1510s; intransitive sense "come together, assemble or meet in large numbers," 1530s. Related: Congregating.
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