February 07, 2016
- gravitate (verb)
- What does it mean?
- : to move or tend to move toward something
- How do you use it?
- Mom arranged seating for the guests in the living room, but as usual everyone gravitated toward the kitchen.
- Are you a word wiz?
"Gravitate" has an old meaning that is no longer used. What do you think that meaning is?"Gravitate" arrived in English in the mid-1600s with the now obsolete meaning "to apply weight or pressure." In the late 1600s, "gravitate" was used to mean "to move under the effect of gravitation." It then acquired a more general sense of "to move toward something." "Gravitate" traces to the Latin root "gravitas," meaning "weight." English has other weighty words descended from that same Latin root, including "gravity" and "gravitation." "Gravity" originally meant "the quality or state of being dignified," but it quickly came to mean "weight" as well. "Gravitas" itself is used in English to mean "high seriousness" when describing a person's bearing or the treatment of a subject.