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

transitive verb

: to perform (a sacrament or solemn ceremony) publicly and with appropriate rites
A priest celebrates Mass.
: to honor (an occasion, such as a holiday) especially by solemn ceremonies or by refraining from ordinary business
The nation celebrates Memorial Day.
: to mark (something, such as an anniversary) by festivities or other deviation from routine
celebrated their 25th anniversary
: to hold up or play up for public notice
her poetry celebrates the glory of nature

intransitive verb

: to observe a holiday, perform a religious ceremony, or take part in a festival
The holiday revelers celebrated all day long.
: to observe a notable occasion with festivities
decided the only way to celebrate was to have a party
celebration noun
celebrative adjective
celebrator 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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web To celebrate, Jimin took to Weverse to share a message of gratitude to BTS fans, affectionately known as the ARMY. Rania Aniftos, Billboard, 29 Nov. 2023 To celebrate the launch of La Réunion’s official foray into homewares, Nsikak brought a group of friends together for the best kind of party: a dress-up party. Maria Geyman, Vogue, 29 Nov. 2023 The Points Guy also celebrated the impact travel has on the world with its Changemaker Category, honoring individuals who inspire change. Laura Begley Bloom, Forbes, 29 Nov. 2023 Listening habits are shared in surprising ways across communities around the world, and 2023 Wrapped celebrates that. Steven J. Horowitz, Variety, 29 Nov. 2023 The Jesus and Mary Chain will celebrate their 40th year in 2024. Evan Minsker, Pitchfork, 29 Nov. 2023 The auction house and Turner Classic Movies are celebrating the 25th anniversary of the zany film by holding a dedicated auction during a bigger, four-day Hollywood Legends sale. Demetrius Simms, Robb Report, 29 Nov. 2023 She is being celebrated this week with several memorial events in her home state before her funeral Wednesday at Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains. Alexandra Hutzler, ABC News, 28 Nov. 2023 Food trucks, an artisan market, art show, and live entertainment sit alongside 50 wineries from across the region to celebrate The Festival of the Grape. Carrie Honaker, Travel + Leisure, 28 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'celebrate.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near celebrate

Cite this Entry

“Celebrate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/celebrate. Accessed 7 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


cel·​e·​brate ˈsel-ə-ˌbrāt How to pronounce celebrate (audio)
celebrated; celebrating
: to perform publicly and according to certain rules
celebrate Mass
: to observe in some special way (as by merrymaking or by staying away from work)
celebrate a birthday
celebrate Memorial Day
: to praise or make known publicly
her poetry celebrates the beauty of nature
celebration noun
celebrator noun

More from Merriam-Webster on celebrate

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