I've been googling to find the differences among the words: gathering, get-together, and meeting.

I found meanings of the three words from Collins:

A get-together is an informal meeting or party, usually arranged for a particular purpose.

A gathering is a group of people meeting together for a particular purpose.

A meeting is an event in which a group of people come together to discuss things or make decisions.

The dictionary definitions seem not much different but from the various articles, I gathered that three words might be ordered by the formality of the event:

meeting > gathering > get-together

And it seems also that gathering and get-together are not for the business world. In the business, it has to be meeting. I also think that get-together is a smaller scale than gathering. But I'm not sure about my conclusions. Fix me if I'm thinking in the wrong way.

And here are some cases that I'm not sure of suitable words to call the events:

  1. If teenage students meet together to do homework home, is this gathering or meeting?

  2. If you go to drink with several of your friends, is this get-together?

  3. If you meet with your friends for lunch with homemade food, is this gathering or get-together?

  4. If you meet with your neighbors to discuss community problems, is this gathering or meeting?



Your impressions of the meanings of these phrases seem to be good. But you expect there to be less overlap than there really is.

  1. It's a gathering, a get-together and a meeting, though I probably wouldn't use any of these terms as nouns. I might well say "we are going to meet..." or "we are going to get together to do homework".

  2. It certainly can be a get-together. (but you might also say that you are meeting for for a drink)

  3. You could call that a gathering, or a get-together. As you note, a gathering tends to be larger in scale.

  4. If you are discussing something then probably "meeting", though it is also a gathering.

Sorry that this is less clear-cut than you hoped. These words do overlap meanings.


In modern U.S. usage at least, the words do not indicate differing degrees of formality of conduct or usage. The dictionary is correct; what distinguishes the words is the implied purpose. A "gathering" may be for any purpose or no purpose. A "meeting" may be used in the same sense as "gathering" or, probably more frequently, in the more limited sense of a gathering for the purpose of discussing or deciding one or more issues. A "get-together" is used almost exclusively to describe a gathering for the primary purpose of being amicable. A get-together of bishops is likely to be a rather formal affair; a meeting of the local guild of jesters is likely to be anything but formal. It is purpose rather than conduct that is primarily in question.

EDIT Teenagers doing anything together will have some social aspects in my experience, but since the ostensible purpose is homework, "gathering" would be my choice. Did you go to the bar to decide upon whether to go into partnership? You would put down "business meeting" on an expense report. Did you go to relive old times? That is a get-together. The words have partially overlapping fields of meaning, and which word to use depends both on context and on the flavor that you want to imply.

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