Although the word is most usually assigned to the members of a church, any gathering might be called a congregation, including a gathering of animals. Come to think of it, a congregation of church members is often called a "flock."

The Latin root of congregation, which is greg, meaning "flock," easily becomes congregare, meaning "to gather together," and finally congregationen, giving the current meaning of “a group.” The meaning took on a religious quality when 16th Century Protestants took it to refer to the church itself, then refining it to mean church members. If you're not a churchgoer, you might still refer to your friends who show up to watch football as a congregation.

Definitions of congregation
  1. noun
    the act of congregating
    synonyms: congregating
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    type of:
    assemblage, assembly, gathering
    the social act of assembling
  2. noun
    an assemblage of people or animals or things collected together
    “a congregation of children pleaded for his autograph”
    “a great congregation of birds flew over”
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    type of:
    accumulation, aggregation, assemblage, collection
    several things grouped together or considered as a whole
  3. noun
    a group of people who adhere to a common faith and habitually attend a given church or place of worship
    synonyms: faithful, fold
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    a church congregation guided by a pastor
    type of:
    social group
    people sharing some social relation
Word Family

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