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Reunion vs. Gathering: What's the Difference?

Edited by Harlon Moss || By Janet White || Published on December 2, 2023
A reunion is a meeting of people who have been apart, often after a long time, while a gathering is a general assembly of people for various purposes.

Key Differences

A reunion specifically refers to the coming together of individuals who have been separated, often for a significant period, such as family members, friends, or classmates. A gathering, in contrast, is a more general term for any assembly of people, which may not necessarily have a prior relationship or a significant time apart.
Reunions often have an emotional or sentimental aspect, as they mark the reconnection of people with shared histories or experiences. Gatherings, however, can be for various reasons, including social, professional, or recreational purposes, without the emotional context of reuniting after separation.
Reunions are usually planned events, often commemorating a special occasion or anniversary, such as school reunions or family reunions. Gatherings can be more spontaneous or casual, like a group of friends meeting or a community event.
The term reunion implies a previous connection or relationship that is being rekindled or celebrated. In contrast, a gathering does not necessarily imply a pre-existing relationship among the attendees.
Reunions can be more exclusive, involving specific groups with a common past, whereas gatherings are often inclusive, open to a broader range of participants without a shared history.

Comparison Chart


Meeting of people who have been apart
General assembly of people

Emotional Context

Often sentimental or emotional
Can be casual or professional


To reconnect with people from the past
Various purposes, social or professional


Usually a planned event
Can be spontaneous or planned

Relationship of Attendees

Prior relationship or connection
May or may not have a prior relationship

Reunion and Gathering Definitions


Reunions can be emotional, marking a reconnection.
There were many heartfelt moments at the military unit's reunion.


A gathering is an assembly or coming together of people.
We're having a casual gathering at the park this weekend.


A reunion is a gathering of people who have been separated.
The high school reunion brought together classmates after 20 years.


Gatherings can range from small and intimate to large and public.
A small gathering of friends met for dinner.


Reunions often celebrate a shared history or past experience.
The family reunion celebrated our grandparents' 50th wedding anniversary.


Gatherings can be for social, cultural, or professional reasons.
The community gathering focused on local art and music.


Reunions are typically planned and organized events.
They began planning the college reunion months in advance.


Gatherings may be spontaneous or planned.
There was an impromptu gathering after the concert.


Reunions can be exclusive to specific groups.
The annual reunion for the championship team was a closed event.


Gatherings do not necessarily imply a past relationship.
The business gathering brought together industry leaders from across the country.


The act of reuniting.


The action of one that gathers.


The state of being reunited.


That which is gathered or amassed; a collection or accumulation.


A gathering of the members of a group who have been separated
A high school reunion.


The process or act of reuniting.
The reunion took forever, but it was worth it.
It was a tearful and heartfelt reunion as the trapped miners finally saw their dear loved ones again.


A planned event at which members of a dispersed group meet together.
Are you going to the high-school reunion this year?


A second union; union formed anew after separation, secession, or discord; as, a reunion of parts or particles of matter; a reunion of parties or sects.


An assembling of persons who have been separated, as of a family, or the members of a disbanded regiment; an assembly so composed.


A party of former associates who have come together again


The act of coming together again;
Monetary unification precipitated the reunification of the German state in October 1990


Is 'reunion' always about family?

Not necessarily. It can refer to any group reunion, like school, work, or friends.

How do you use 'reunion' in a sentence?

"Our family reunion happens every summer."

Can 'reunion' refer to two people?

Yes, it can, especially if they have a significant shared history.

What is a class reunion?

A gathering of former classmates, often organized around a significant anniversary of graduation.

Is 'reunion' a formal event?

It can be, but it varies greatly depending on the context and group involved.

What is a family reunion?

A gathering of extended family members, often involving multiple generations.

What does 'reunion' mean?

A reunion is a gathering of people who have been apart, typically those who have a shared past experience or relationship.

Is a gathering always planned?

Not always. It can be spontaneous or planned.

What's the difference between 'reunion' and 'meeting'?

A reunion implies a personal connection and time apart, while a meeting is more general and can be a first encounter.

Can 'gathering' refer to a small group?

Yes, gatherings can range from small to large groups.

Can 'reunion' be used as a verb?

No, 'reunion' is a noun. The verb form would be 'reunite.'

What is a public gathering?

A public gathering is an event open to the general public, like a concert or festival.

Can 'gathering' have a negative connotation?

In some contexts, like an uncontrolled crowd, it might.

Can animals have reunions?

In a non-literal sense, yes, when pets reunite with their owners after being apart.

How does 'gathering' differ from 'party'?

A party is typically a social event with entertainment, while a gathering is a more general term for any assembly of people.

What does 'gathering' mean?

A gathering is an assembly or meeting of people for a specific purpose.

What is a spiritual gathering?

A meeting of people for religious or spiritual purposes, like a prayer group or retreat.

What are common types of gatherings?

Parties, meetings, religious services, and social events.

How do you use 'gathering' in a sentence?

"We're hosting a casual gathering at our home."

Is 'gathering' formal or informal?

It can be either, depending on the context.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.

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