[ noun kong-gris; verb kuhn-gres, kuhng- ]
See synonyms for: congresscongressedcongressing on

  1. (initial capital letter)

    • the national legislative body of the U.S., consisting of the Senate, or upper house, and the House of Representatives, or lower house, as a continuous institution.

    • this body as it exists for a period of two years during which it has the same membership: the Ninety-Seventh Congress.

    • a session of this body: to speak in Congress.

  2. the national legislative body of a nation, especially of a republic.

  1. a formal meeting or assembly of representatives for the discussion, arrangement, or promotion of some matter of common interest.

  2. the act of coming together; an encounter; meeting.

  3. an association, especially one composed of representatives of various organizations.

  4. familiar relations; dealings intercourse.

verb (used without object)
  1. to assemble together; meet in congress.

Origin of congress

First recorded in 1350–1400 for earlier sense “body of attendants, following”; Middle English, from Latin congressus “assembly, intercourse, meeting,” equivalent to congred(ī) “to approach, meet” (con- “with, together” + -gredī, combining form of gradī “to step”) + -tus suffix of verbal action; see con-; cf. grade

Other words for congress

Other words from congress

  • pre-Congress, noun

Words Nearby congress Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use congress in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for congress (1 of 2)


/ (ˈkɒŋɡrɛs) /

  1. a meeting or conference, esp of representatives of a number of sovereign states

  2. a national legislative assembly

  1. a society or association

  2. sexual intercourse

Origin of congress

C16: from Latin congressus from congredī to meet with, from com- together + gradī to walk, step

British Dictionary definitions for Congress (2 of 2)


/ (ˈkɒŋɡrɛs) /

  1. the bicameral federal legislature of the US, consisting of the House of Representatives and the Senate

  2. this body during any two-year term

  1. Also called: Congress Party (in India) a major political party, which controlled the Union government from 1947 to 1977: Official name: Indian National Congress

Derived forms of Congress

  • Congressional, adjective

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Cultural definitions for Congress


The legislative branch of the United States federal government, composed of the House of Representatives and the Senate. Popularly elected, senators and representatives are responsible for advocating the interests of the constituents they represent. Numerous congressional committees are organized to study issues of public policy, recommend action, and, ultimately, pass laws. Congress plays an important role in the system of checks and balances; in fact, the two-house (bicameral) organization of Congress acts as an internal check, for each house must separately vote to pass a bill for it to become a law. In addition to lawmaking, Congress has a variety of functions, including appropriation of funds for executive and judicial activities; instituting taxes and regulating commerce; declaring war and raising and supporting a military; setting up federal courts and conducting impeachment proceedings; and approving presidential appointments.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.