cel·​e·​brate | \ˈse-lə-ˌbrāt \
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 \ noun
celebrative \ ˈse-​lə-​ˌbrā-​tiv \ adjective
celebrator \ -​tər \ noun
celebratory \ -​brə-​ˌtȯr-​ē , ˌse-​lə-​ˈbrā-​tə-​rē \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for celebrate


commemorate, keep, observe


break, transgress, violate

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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

Clubs that identify themselves by race or gender were also there to celebrate inclusiveness and equality. Morgan Cook, sandiegouniontribune.com, "'Rights are easy to lose': San Diego Pride Parade calls for persistence in fight for equality," 14 July 2018 This year looks to be further proof of that as multiple members of the 1988 AFC Championship team told BX the club is bringing them back to celebrate 30 years for the Bengals’ home opener against the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday, Sept. 13. Paul Dehner Jr., Cincinnati.com, "BX: Cincinnati Bengals looking to bring back 1988 Super Bowl team," 13 July 2018 Hundreds of people turned out Friday to celebrate the best of Homewood, enjoy an early-morning festival and mingle with TV personalities. Ted Slowik, Daily Southtown, "Slowik: Homewood takes spotlight on 'WGN Morning News' live block party broadcast," 13 July 2018 Both festivals describe themselves as nonprofits and run by volunteers to celebrate the Polish heritage in the communities they're held in with parades, vendors and games. Becky Jacobs, Post-Tribune, "Whiting's Pierogi Fest settles with East Coast event in trademark dispute," 13 July 2018 Terry and Ann Andres had flown into Fort Lauderdale on their way to a cruise to celebrate their January birthdays. Tonya Alanez, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Deputies were at a party when Fort Lauderdale airport shooting began, says widow's lawsuit," 12 July 2018 After Croatia jumped ahead in extra time, the entire Croatian outfield squad left the field to celebrate. Andrew Joseph, For The Win, "England tried to take advantage of a nonexistent rule and score during Croatia's celebration," 12 July 2018 Hailey Baldwin treated her new fiancé Justin Bieber to an extra special gift to celebrate their engagement. Kaitlyn Frey, PEOPLE.com, "Hailey Baldwin Buys Justin Bieber a Diamond Ring with His Initials as Engagement Gift: Report," 12 July 2018 Buy Photo Philadelphia firefighters, police officers, city officials, and family members gathered Wednesday morning to celebrate the life of Lt. Kelly Brennan, Philly.com, "Firefighter who died during training exercise is praised at funeral," 11 July 2018

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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Learn More about celebrate

Dictionary Entries near celebrate


Celebes Sea






Statistics for celebrate

Last Updated

5 Nov 2018

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.

: to praise (someone or something) : to say that (someone or something) is great or important

: to perform (a religious ceremony)


cel·​e·​brate | \ˈse-lə-ˌbrāt \
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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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).


obstinately defiant of authority

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