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congeries - Wiktionary


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WOTD – 12 March 2007


Borrowed from Latin congeriēs (“heap, mass, pile”), from congerō (“I carry together”).



congeries (plural congeries)

  1. A collection or aggregation of disparate items.
    • 1876, James Clerk Maxwell, "On Action at a Distance", Proceedings of the Royal Institution of Great Britain, 1876:
      And when the Newtonian philosophy gained ground in Europe, it was the opinion of Cotes rather than that of Newton that became most prevalent, till at last Boscovich propounded his theory, that matter is a congeries of mathematical points...
    • 1898, William McKinley, Second State of the Union Address:
      The world has seen the postal system developed from a congeries of independent and exclusive services into a well-ordered union, of which all countries enjoy the manifold benefits.
    • 1928, Virginia Woolf, Orlando:
      By short cuts known to him, he made his way now through the vast congeries of rooms and staircases to the banqueting-hall, five acres distant on the other side of the house.
    • 1932, H. P. Lovecraft, Dreams in the Witch-House:
      Two of the less irrelevantly moving things - a rather large congeries of iridescent, prolately spheroidal bubbles and a very much smaller polyhedron of unknown colours and rapidly shifting surface angles - seemed to take notice of him and follow him about or float ahead as he changed position...
    • 1974, Lawrence Durrell, Monsieur, Faber & Faber 1992, p. 40:
      The three of them could hardly tell themselves apart, became a sort of congeries of loving emotions, all mutually complementary.
    • 2003, Roy Porter, Flesh in the Age of Reason, Penguin 2004, p. 243:
      That whole congeries of values was now in question.
    • 2005, John Banville, The Sea, Picador 2005, p. 216:
      It was not what I was that I disliked, I mean the singular, essential me - although I grant that even the notion of an essential, singular self is problematic - but the congeries of affects, inclinations, received ideas, class tics, that my birth and upbringing had bestowed on me in place of a personality.


A collection or aggregation of disparate items



Alternative forms[edit]



congeriēs f (genitive congeriēī); fifth declension

  1. heap, pile, mass
  2. collection, accumulation


Fifth declension.

CaseSingularPlural Nominativecongeriēs congeriēs Genitivecongeriēī congeriērum Dativecongeriēī congeriēbus Accusativecongeriem congeriēs Ablativecongeriē congeriēbus Vocativecongeriēs congeriēs



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