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 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.
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Recent Examples on the Web American Humane created the week in 1915 as a way to celebrate the special bond between people and pets and introduce humane education to children. Cathy M. Rosenthal, San Antonio Express-News, "5 ways to teach your children to be kind to animals," 29 Apr. 2021 One year after its inaugural event, the leaders of the Howard County Rainbow Conference are gearing up for another virtual gathering to celebrate the LGBTQ community and raise awareness. Jacob Calvin Meyer, baltimoresun.com, "Howard County Rainbow Conference, celebrating LGBTQ community, preparing for virtual event in May | EDUCATION NOTEBOOK," 28 Apr. 2021 Gemignani plans to donate a portion of bagel sales to the San Francisco Italian Athletic Club Foundation to help celebrate and preserve Italian culture, in part due to the interaction that inspired the business’ name. Elena Kadvany, San Francisco Chronicle, "A famed S.F. pizza chef was called an Italian ethnic slur. Now he's naming his new bagel shop after it," 28 Apr. 2021 Tierrasanta community leaders will begin hanging banners across the community this spring to celebrate the suburban neighborhood’s 50th anniversary and to promote cultural and civic events. David Garrick, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Banners will wave in Tierrasanta to celebrate suburban neighborhood’s 50th anniversary," 27 Apr. 2021 Suppers to celebrate the seasons (2019) and Clodagh’s Weeknight Kitchen, which came out in the United States earlier this year. Merri Jill Rhodes, Better Homes & Gardens, "Stylemaker: We're Going Live!," 26 Apr. 2021 Unable to celebrate the Kentucky Derby this May 1 with loved ones and want to send them a little special something? Perri Ormont Blumberg, Southern Living, "Amazing Prepared Derby Dinners to Order Online from Commander's Palace, Sunrise Biscuit Kitchen, and More," 22 Apr. 2021 Like all previous editions of the Cleveland Asian Festival, the 2021 event is meant to celebrate the city’s diversity and to shine a light on Cleveland’s Asian community. Anne Nickoloff, cleveland, "Cleveland Asian Festival goes virtual for 2021," 20 Apr. 2021 This week is a great time to celebrate and acknowledge the volunteer's service. Lauren Lee, CNN, "How to celebrate National Volunteer Week," 16 Apr. 2021

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

3 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Celebrate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/celebrate. Accessed 14 May. 2021.

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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.

Comments on celebrate

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