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

Other Words from celebrate

celebration \ ˌse-​lə-​ˈbrā-​shən How to pronounce celebrate (audio) \ noun
celebrative \ ˈse-​lə-​ˌbrā-​tiv How to pronounce celebrate (audio) \ adjective
celebrator \ ˈse-​lə-​ˌbrā-​tər How to pronounce celebrate (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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web And the longtime loves' stunning sartorial choices weren't limited to just the ceremony — everything from their rehearsal dinner outfits to the afterparty ensembles were carefully curated to celebrate their big weekend in style. Hedy Phillips, PEOPLE.com, 29 June 2022 Others held demonstrations to celebrate it throughout the weekend. Laura Daniella Sepulveda, The Arizona Republic, 27 June 2022 Getting a diploma in the mail hardly means as much as striding across a stage in a robe among hundreds of people to celebrate you. The Salt Lake Tribune, 26 June 2022 Men should also feel proud to celebrate themselves on Father’s Day, no matter what the women in their lives do on that day. Victoria Uwumarogie, Essence, 21 June 2022 Juneteenth happened to fall on Father's Day this year, and the Google Doodle to celebrate it was created, fittingly, by a father-son duo. Caitlin O'kane, CBS News, 20 June 2022 Both movements promised freedom, yet exerted pressure to use and celebrate it only in certain ways. Joanna Scutts, The New Republic, 20 June 2022 More:What to know about Juneteenth Day and where to celebrate it in Milwaukee this year Federal employees get to take off Juneteenth – feted Sunday but observed on Monday this year. La Risa R. Lynch, Journal Sentinel, 20 June 2022 Aside from the Tribune’s sesquicentennial, there was a lot to celebrate in those years, especially on the city’s sports scene, as Paul Sullivan notes. Chicago Tribune Staff, Chicago Tribune, 19 June 2022 See More

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.

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

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Last Updated

2 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Celebrate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/celebrate. Accessed 7 Jul. 2022.

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More Definitions for celebrate


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.

More from Merriam-Webster on celebrate

Nglish: Translation of celebrate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of celebrate for Arabic Speakers


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