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 Though the club has been shut because of the coronavirus pandemic, Darcelle took the stage for two nights this fall to celebrate turning 90 years old. oregonlive, "Darcelle XV becomes first Oregon business designated a national historic site for its place in LGBTQ history," 1 Dec. 2020 Reporters also chastised Trump for not taking questions for three weeks following the election, including at an appearance at the podium with Vice President Mike Pence to celebrate the Dow Jones Industrial Average hitting 30,000. W. James Antle Iii, Washington Examiner, "Democrats think low-profile Biden will be key post-Trump," 1 Dec. 2020 Each year since, thousands have used the occasion to celebrate the lives of those lost to HIV infection and to reflect on the resilience of those living with this disease. al, "World AIDS Day 2020 reminds us of yet another pandemic," 1 Dec. 2020 The Ambassador Hotel, which is located near the Church of the Nativity, built on the site where Christians believe Jesus was born, has reopened one floor in hopes that some local visitors may want to come celebrate in the coming weeks. Jelal Hassan, chicagotribune.com, "Coronavirus robs biblical Bethlehem of Christmas cheer," 1 Dec. 2020 To celebrate the late actor's memory and legacy, Boseman's fellow performers and former costars, including those from Black Panther, shared loving tributes on his birthday. Harper's Bazaar Staff, Harper's BAZAAR, "Chadwick Boseman's Former Costars Share Loving Messages on His Birthday," 30 Nov. 2020 The most elaborate production of the fall came from the San Francisco Symphony, which had to scrap most of its plans to celebrate its new music director, Esa-Pekka Salonen. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, "What Does It Mean to “Reimagine” an Orchestra Season?," 30 Nov. 2020 Last month, Kim Nguyen gathered with her extended family over Vietnamese crab soup to celebrate her grandmother’s birthday. Stephanie Lai, Los Angeles Times, "Vietnamese immigrant families hash out political differences, even without a common Thanksgiving table," 29 Nov. 2020 Simply pop in promo code SHARETHELOVE during checkout to redeem your savings, and then proceed to celebrate while waiting for the arrival of your new goodies. Kaleigh Fasanella, Allure, "Every Harry Josh Hair Tool Is on Sale, Including Its Iconic Blow-Dryer," 28 Nov. 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

4 Dec 2020

Cite this Entry

“Celebrate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/celebrate. Accessed 5 Dec. 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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