cel·​e·​brate | \ ˈse-lə-ˌbrāt How to pronounce celebrate (audio) \
celebrated; celebrating

Definition of celebrate

transitive verb

1 : to perform (a sacrament or solemn ceremony) publicly and with appropriate rites A priest celebrates Mass.
2a : 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

intransitive verb

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

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Other Words from celebrate

celebration \ ˌse-​lə-​ˈbrā-​shən How to pronounce celebration (audio) \ noun
celebrative \ ˈse-​lə-​ˌbrā-​tiv How to pronounce celebrative (audio) \ adjective
celebrator \ ˈse-​lə-​ˌbrā-​tər How to pronounce celebrator (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for 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

Examples of celebrate in a Sentence

We are celebrating my birthday by going out to dinner. The family gathered to celebrate Christmas. We are celebrating our anniversary next week. They are celebrating the birth of their third child. The book celebrates the movies of the past. Her lecture celebrated the genius of the artist. He is celebrated for his contributions to modern science. A priest celebrates Mass at the church daily.
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Recent Examples on the Web The awards show, which celebrates the best in indie cinema, is traditionally held the day before the Academy Awards — though there’s not much to glean from what its . Yvonne Villarrealstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "Here’s all the winners of the 2020 Independent Spirit Awards," 8 Feb. 2020 Herutier Icapesa Matinda, 29, from Congo, had earlier made the trip from Samos to the camp, and celebrated by leading Syrian children in a song and dance. Jason Horowitz, New York Times, "On a Greek Island, Migrants and Locals Are Wary Neighbors," 7 Feb. 2020 With his visa, my father-in-law, who works as an OB-GYN in Nigeria, was able to come and celebrate my daughter’s baptism. Jennifer Adaeze Okwerekwu, STAT, "As medical professionals, my husband and I know the Nigerian travel ban is cruel. Now the pain is personal," 7 Feb. 2020 Roberta McCain, the mother of the late Sen. John McCain, celebrated her 108th birthday on Friday. John Gage, Washington Examiner, "Mother of John McCain turns 108 years old, credits 'sense of humor' for long life," 7 Feb. 2020 More of those moments are coming soon when Flagstaff celebrates the 90th anniversary of the discovery of the dwarf planet. Weldon B. Johnson, azcentral, "Is Pluto a planet? Who cares! Flagstaff is celebrating the fact it was discovered there," 7 Feb. 2020 See, when Trump was celebrating the good economy, and lawmakers got up to cheer it, many Democrats (such as House impeachment managers Jerry Nadler and Adam Schiff) remained seated. Katherine Timpf, National Review, "SOTU: Someone Should Tell Dems They Can Hate Trump and Support Veterans," 6 Feb. 2020 For those still waiting to show their beautiful smiles, keep in mind that when people celebrate their 30th or 40th or 50th anniversaries, those are real-life Instagram photos. Dave Murphy, SFChronicle.com, "How depression, anxiety and loneliness cut across the generations," 6 Feb. 2020 The president and his allies hav e been on a victory lap since Wednesday, sending giddy tweets needling his accusers and Democrats and celebrating. Jonathan Lemire, Fortune, "Trump unleashes fury at impeachment enemies during National Prayer Breakfast speech," 6 Feb. 2020

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.

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First Known Use of celebrate

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for 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

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Time Traveler for celebrate

Time Traveler

The first known use of celebrate was in the 15th century

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Statistics for celebrate

Last Updated

12 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Celebrate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/celebrate. Accessed 23 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for celebrate


How to pronounce celebrate (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of celebrate

: to do something special or enjoyable for an important event, occasion, holiday, etc.
formal : to praise (someone or something) : to say that (someone or something) is great or important
formal : to perform (a religious ceremony)


cel·​e·​brate | \ ˈse-lə-ˌbrāt How to pronounce celebrate (audio) \
celebrated; celebrating

Kids Definition of celebrate

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

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