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Etymology 1Edit

From Old French congié (modern congé), from Latin commeātus (passage, permission to leave), from commeō (I go and come), from con- + meō (I go, I pass). Figurative senses generally borrowed from developments in French.

Alternative formsEdit


congee (plural congees)

  1. Leave, formal permission for some action, originally and particularly:
    1. (obsolete) Formal permission to leave; a passport.
  2. (obsolete) Formal dismissal; (figuratively) any dismissal, (originally and particularly humorously ironic) abrupt dismissal without ceremony.
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, II.i:
      So courteous conge both did giue and take,
      With right hands plighted, pledges of good will.
  3. (obsolete) Formal leavetaking; (figuratively) any farewell.
  4. (obsolete, Scotland) A fee paid to make another go away, (particularly) alms to a persistent beggar.
  5. (archaic) A bow, curtsey, or other gesture (originally) made at departure but (later) including at greeting or in obeissance or respect.
    • 1603, Michel de Montaigne, chapter 17, in John Florio, transl., The Essayes, [], book II, printed at London: By Val[entine] Simmes for Edward Blount [], OCLC 946730821:
      As salutations, reverences, or conges, by which some doe often purchase the honour, (but wrongfully) to be humble, lowly, and courteous [].
    • 1819, Walter Scott, Ivanhoe:
      “My daughter Rebecca, so please your Grace,” answered Isaac, with a low congee, nothing embarrassed by the Prince’s salutation, in which, however, there was at least as much mockery as courtesy.
Derived termsEdit


congee (third-person singular simple present congees, present participle congeeing, simple past and past participle congeed)

  1. (archaic) To give congee, particularly
    1. (obsolete, transitive) To give formal permission to leave; to dismiss.
    2. (obsolete, transitive) To give formal permission to do something; to license.
  2. (archaic) To take congee: to leave ceremoniously.
  3. (archaic) To make a congee: to bow, curtsey, etc., particularly (dialectical) while leaving; (figuratively) to make obeissance, show respect, or defer to someone or something.

Etymology 2Edit

From Tamil கஞ்சி (kañci), perhaps via Portuguese.

Alternative formsEdit


English Wikipedia has an article on:

congee (usually uncountable, plural congees)

  1. (Asian cooking) A type of thick rice porridge or soup, sometimes prepared with vegetables and/or meat.
  • (Korean, Thai contexts): jook, juk
  • (Chinese contexts): zhou
Derived termsEdit
See alsoEdit


  • "congee | congé, n.²" & "v." in the Oxford English Dictionary, 1891.