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

The Russian accomplishment comes as the U.S. space agency NASA celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing on July 20, 1969. Matthew Bodner, SFChronicle.com, "Russia launches major new telescope into space after delays," 13 July 2019 Amazon tested out its inaugural Prime Day in July of 2015 to celebrate the company's 20th anniversary. Nathaniel Meyersohn, CNN, "How Amazon Prime Day became the shopping Super Bowl," 13 July 2019 Last month, to celebrate the anniversary, the White Sox gave out commemorative Disco Demolition T-shirts to 10,000 fans for a home game and even that echo promotion scraped a scab from an old wound. Joe Lapointe, Detroit Free Press, "40 years ago, Disco Demolition Night stirred culture war still being fought," 12 July 2019 Up to 25,000 people are expected to celebrate the 90th anniversary of LULAC. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Live Video: Watch the LULAC presidential town hall with Warren, Sanders, O'Rourke and Castro," 11 July 2019 Wolter, like many families living in Howard County, grew up with CNSL, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this summer two years after Columbia turned 50. Tim Schwartz, baltimoresun.com, "Columbia Neighborhood Swim League turns 50," 11 July 2019 Cruel Intentions celebrated its 20th anniversary earlier this year (check out EW’s reunion of stars Witherspoon, Blair, Sarah Michelle Gellar, and Ryan Phillippe here), and had a weeklong theatrical re-release. Marcus Jones, EW.com, "Reese Witherspoon unearths 20-year-old photo of her and Selma Blair from Cruel Intentions set," 11 July 2019 Visit the Enfield Public Library, 104 Middle Road, on Saturday, July 20, at 10 a.m., and celebrate the 50th anniversary of the moon walk. courant.com, "Community News For The Enfield Edition," 10 July 2019 The fly-by was meant to take place over an event celebrating the 100th anniversary of the death of Bider, who became the first person to fly over the Alps in both directions in 1913. Megan Mccluskey, Time, "Swiss Air Force Disrupts Yodeling Festival With Fly-By in the Wrong Town," 9 July 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

16 Jul 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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