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

So what better way to celebrate those two simultaneous birthdays than to combine them? Christian Holub, EW.com, "Watch Batman and Friends celebrate their birthdays together in exclusive video," 17 Sep. 2019 To celebrate Cleveland's first appearance on NBC's Sunday Night Football in 11 years (Pittsburgh won, 10-6, in 2008) Pepsi is giving away 1,100 limited-edition Believeland Pepsi bottles with a Willy Wonka spin. Marc Bona, cleveland.com, "Pepsi ‘Believeland’ bottles to mark Browns’ Sunday Night Football appearance," 17 Sep. 2019 The album’s sound would prove massively influential on the next decade of radio rock and synth-pop, and continues to be celebrated by arena-filling and avant-leaning musicians alike. Ashley Iasimone, The Hollywood Reporter, "Ric Ocasek, Lead Singer of The Cars, Dies at 75," 16 Sep. 2019 To celebrate Bangtan’s return, the BTS ARMY took to Twitter with the hashtag #BTSisBack, which trended at no. 1 shortly after. Sara Delgado, Teen Vogue, "BTS Has Returned From Their Extended Break, Reportedly to Film a Reality Show," 16 Sep. 2019 Ted's Refreshments will host the Hay Day music festival on Saturday, Sept. 28, to celebrate its grand opening. Tirion Morris, azcentral, "Mill Avenue dive bar Ted's Refreshments opens in downtown Tempe. Here's what's on the menu," 16 Sep. 2019 Post-show, the Beckhams then headed to a private dinner at Harry’s Bar to celebrate the designer, where Victoria and David pulled off an extremely chic his-and-hers suiting moment. Vogue, "Victoria and David Beckham Hit London Fashion Week in His-and-Hers Suiting," 16 Sep. 2019 To celebrate the new addition to the Sterling family, the model invited her family, friends and Real Housewives Of Atlanta castmates over for an oh-so-floral baby shower. Jasmine Grant, Essence, "Eva Marcille Shares Gorgeous Photos From Her 'Flower Shower' While Hinting At Baby Number 3's Name," 16 Sep. 2019 Bauer let out a yell to celebrate the out as Barnhart, the catcher, pumped his fist. Bobby Nightengale, Cincinnati.com, "Eugenio Suárez blasts 2 home runs in Cincinnati Reds win, tied for MLB lead," 16 Sep. 2019

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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Statistics for celebrate

Last Updated

22 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for celebrate

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

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More Definitions for celebrate



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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