verb cel·e·brate \ ˈse-lə-ˌbrāt \
|Updated on: 16 Jul 2018

Definition of celebrate

celebrated; celebrating
1 : to perform (a sacrament or solemn ceremony) publicly and with appropriate rites
  • A priest celebrates Mass.
2 a : to honor (an occasion, such as a holiday) especially by solemn ceremonies or by refraining from ordinary business
  • The nation celebrates Memorial Day.
b : to mark (something, such as an anniversary) by festivities or other deviation from routine
  • celebrated their 25th anniversary
3 : to hold up or play up for public notice
  • her poetry celebrates the glory of nature
1 : to observe a holiday, perform a religious ceremony, or take part in a festival
  • The holiday revelers celebrated all day long.
2 : to observe a notable occasion with festivities
  • decided the only way to celebrate was to have a party


play \ˌse-lə-ˈbrā-shən\ noun


play \ˈse-lə-ˌbrā-tiv\ adjective


play \-tər\ noun


play \-brə-ˌtȯr-ē, ˌse-lə-ˈbrā-tə-rē\ adjective

Examples of celebrate in a Sentence

  1. We are celebrating my birthday by going out to dinner.

  2. The family gathered to celebrate Christmas.

  3. We are celebrating our anniversary next week.

  4. They are celebrating the birth of their third child.

  5. The book celebrates the movies of the past.

  6. Her lecture celebrated the genius of the artist.

  7. He is celebrated for his contributions to modern science.

  8. A priest celebrates Mass at the church daily.

Recent Examples of celebrate from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'celebrate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of celebrate

Middle English celebraten, borrowed from Latin celebrātus, past participle of celebrāre "to throng, frequent, observe (an occasion, festivity), praise" (probably originally back-formation from earlier concelebrāre "to frequent, honor"), derivative of celebr-, celeber "much used, frequented, widely known, famed," probably going back to *kelesri-, of uncertain origin

celebrate Synonyms

Synonym Discussion of celebrate

keep, observe, celebrate, commemorate mean to notice or honor a day, occasion, or deed. keep stresses the idea of not neglecting or violating.
    • kept the Sabbath by refraining from work
observe suggests marking the occasion by ceremonious performance.
    • not all holidays are observed nationally
celebrate suggests acknowledging an occasion by festivity.
    • traditionally celebrates Thanksgiving with a huge dinner
commemorate suggests that an occasion is marked by observances that remind one of the origin and significance of the event.
    • commemorate Memorial Day with the laying of wreaths

CELEBRATE Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of celebrate for English Language Learners

  • : to do something special or enjoyable for an important event, occasion, holiday, etc.

  • : to praise (someone or something) : to say that (someone or something) is great or important

  • : to perform (a religious ceremony)

CELEBRATE Defined for Kids


verb cel·e·brate \ ˈse-lə-ˌbrāt \

Definition of celebrate for Students

celebrated; celebrating
1 : to observe (a holiday or important occasion) in some special way
2 : to perform (a religious ceremony)
3 : 1praise 1
  • We should celebrate the freedoms we have.

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to grant as a privilege or special favor

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