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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web The prolific composers Stephen Sondheim and Andrew Lloyd Webber celebrate their birthdays on March 22. Sara Aridi, New York Times, "What’s on TV Sunday: ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ and ‘Pet Sematary’," 22 Mar. 2020 Talk about sky-high emotions for a graduation ceremony: A group of students from Briercrest College and Seminary in Canada celebrated their graduation on a WestJet flight when coronavirus shut down their school. Morgan Hines, USA TODAY, "WestJet crew holds mid-flight graduation for students after coronavirus shutters school," 21 Mar. 2020 The organization celebrated three decades of work in Harris County and six other area counties with its first More Than Pink luncheon on March 6 at the Ballroom at Bayou Place in downtown Houston. Tracy Maness, Houston Chronicle, "More than Pink luncheon celebrates 30 years of Susan G. Komen Houston," 21 Mar. 2020 Aldridge and The Pollies will celebrate their EP with an album release performance, 8 p.m. March 20. Matt Wake | Mwake@al.com, al, "A standout new Alabama album emerges amid the pandemic," 20 Mar. 2020 Typically, Jewish groups celebrate with a Seder, the feast commemorating Passover, but this week, many such events have been canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. Nicholas Rowan, Washington Examiner, "Easter and Passover canceled: Coronavirus pandemic upends ancient traditions," 20 Mar. 2020 This week, Microsoft celebrates the third birthday of Microsoft Teams, an application that has taken greater prominence as the coronavirus pandemic worsens. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Microsoft unveils new Microsoft Teams features, including one that filters out background noise," 19 Mar. 2020 After more than 30 years in advertising, celebrated their retirement with a trip. Los Angeles Times, "Newsletter: In economic triage mode," 18 Mar. 2020 The Chronicle’s Automobiles section celebrated with a full page spread led by photos taken at the top of the mountain — and the car that drove the photographer up there. Bill Van Niekerken, SFChronicle.com, "Dramatic mountain, dramatic views: Archive photos of Mount Diablo," 18 Mar. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about celebrate

Time Traveler for celebrate

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for celebrate

Last Updated

25 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Celebrate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/celebrate. Accessed 5 Apr. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

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.

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on celebrate

What made you want to look up celebrate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Thing: Flower Edition

Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!