Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To please or satisfy: His achievement gratified his father. See Synonyms at please.
  • transitive v. To give what is desired to; indulge: gratified her curiosity.
  • transitive v. Archaic To reward.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To please.
  • v. To make content, to satisfy.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To please; to give pleasure to; to satisfy; to soothe; to indulge
  • transitive v. To requite; to recompense.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To please; give pleasure to; delight; satisfy; indulge.
  • To requite or reward voluntarily; also, to give a gratuity to.
  • Synonyms Gratify, Indulge, Humor. To gratify is a more positive act than to indulge or to humor. Gratify is most often used in a good sense; indulge, most often in a bad one. Humor expresses an easy or good-natured compliance or management, ordinarily neither weak nor evil: as, to humor a person's eccentricities.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. make happy or satisfied
  • v. yield (to); give satisfaction to

Etymologies

Middle English gratifien, to favor, from Latin grātificārī : grātus, pleasing; see gwerə-2 in Indo-European roots + -ficārī, -fy.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French gratifier, from Latin gratificare ("to do a favor to, oblige, please, gratify"), from gratus ("kind, pleasing") + facere ("to make"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Hence an important means towards happiness is the control of our desires, and the extinction of those that we cannot gratify, which is brought about by virtue.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 6: Fathers of the Church-Gregory XI

  • And my husband will be happy in the enjoyment of every expensive taste which a poor man call gratify, for the first time in his life.

    Little Novels

  • (26 May) was thought a fitting opportunity for asking for a further loan of £100,000 to enable her majesty to pay and "gratify" the seamen who had so gallantly warded off invasion and to refit the fleet.

    London and the Kingdom - Volume II

  • Their victory over difficulties affords the most rational cause of triumph, and the attainment of new ideas leads to incalculable riches, such as gratify the glorious avarice of aspiring and comprehensive minds.

    The Borough

  • Being offered several times, refusing politely, then at last "Maybe just one, they look soooo good!" was supposed to gratify the hostess into thinking that she really was such a good cook, she'd managed to overcome the ladylike appetite ( "I only exist on air") of the visitor, and the visitor maintains her rep for not being greedy.

    mrissa: It gets early early here, too.

  • Such a mission, he believed, would not only advance the cause of science but enhance American prestige, polish the Navy's image and "gratify the whole Christian world" not to mention impel his own becalmed career.

    Old Salt, Dead Sea

  • Mavis is the classic narcissist: cut off from objective reality, lacking any concern for other people, insecure in private but willing in public to ride roughshod over anyone and everything in order to gratify her whims.

    Govindini Murty: Charlize Theron's Young Adult and the Crisis of Narcissism in Our Popular Culture

  • Another mother described herself as 'constantly upset', but making a Herculean effort to gratify her year 14-year-old daughter anyway.

    Susan Shapiro Barash: Our Daughters at Holiday Time

  • His personal habits were simple; but as a lover of art, with means to gratify his taste, he surrounded himself in his various splendid homes with much that was artistic and beautiful.

    The Third Marquess of Bute: Catholic Convert and Patron

  • Hume, and other sceptical innovators, are vain men, and will gratify themselves at any expence.

    Quotha

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