com·​mem·​o·​rate | \kə-ˈme-mə-ˌrāt \
commemorated; commemorating

Definition of commemorate 

transitive verb

1 : to call to remembrance St. Andrew is commemorated on November 30.

2 : to mark by some ceremony or observation : observe commemorate an anniversary

3 : to serve as a memorial of a plaque that commemorates the battle

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Other Words from commemorate

commemorator \kə-​ˈme-​mə-​ˌrā-​tər \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for commemorate


celebrate, keep, observe


break, transgress, violate

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Choose the Right Synonym for commemorate

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

Did You Know?

When you remember something, you are mindful of it. It's appropriate, therefore, that "commemorate" and other related memory-associated words (including "memorable," "memorial," "remember," and "memory" itself) come from the Latin root memor, meaning "mindful." Some distant older relatives are Old English "gemimor" ("well-known"), Greek mermēra ("care"), and Sanskrit "smarati" ("he remembers"). English speakers have been marking the memory of important events with "commemorate" since the late 16th century.

Examples of commemorate in a Sentence

The festival commemorates the town's founding. The plaque commemorates the battle that took place here 200 years ago. Each year on this date we commemorate our ancestors with a special ceremony.
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Recent Examples on the Web

All are geared to commemorate the good old days when Domino refined some 98% of the nation’s sugar. Julie V. Iovine, WSJ, "Sweet Design on the Brooklyn Waterfront," 30 June 2018 First daughter and White House senior adviser Ivanka Trump shared an old family photo of her and her father to commemorate the day. Saba Hamedy, CNN, "President Donald Trump turns 72," 14 June 2018 Joplin officials don't have anything planned this year to commemorate that day. Eric Adler And Laura Bauer, kansascity, "Remembering Joplin tornado seven years later: Three tales of death, courage and love | The Kansas City Star," 21 May 2018 To commemorate this year’s Levi’s 501 Day on May 20, the brand has partnered with Karla Welch, stylist to Tracee Ellis Ross, Sarah Paulson, and Justin Bieber. Alexis Brunswick, Vogue, "Karla Welch Launches Her Levi’s Collaboration With a Little Help From Yoko Ono," 15 May 2018 Huge,’’ Renteria said postgame in a pink cap to commemorate Mother’s Day. David Haugh,, "Struggling White Sox finally give their manager reason to smile on emotional day," 13 May 2018 Today, during his remarks to commemorate the National Day of Prayer, President Trump departed from the prepared text to insert a boast that had presumably not been cleared by fact-checkers. Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, "Trump Claims Credit for ‘One Nation Under God,’ Which Started in 1954," 3 May 2018 Recreational marijuana smokers are celebrating an unofficial holiday today, commemorating a day that for nearly 50 years has been synonymous with smoking weed. Marco Santana,, "It's 4/20: Do you know where your Orlando medical marijuana dispensary is?," 20 Apr. 2018 Scoop up yours now Orlando City SC is also organizing a few initiatives to commemorate Earth Day. Jordan Culver, Pro Soccer USA, "Orlando City all-in for Earth Day with Parley kits, community cleanup," 17 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'commemorate.' 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 commemorate

1599, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for commemorate

Latin commemoratus, past participle of commemorare, from com- + memorare to remind of, from memor mindful — more at memory

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Last Updated

5 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for commemorate

The first known use of commemorate was in 1599

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More Definitions for commemorate



English Language Learners Definition of commemorate

: to exist or be done in order to remind people of (an important event or person from the past)

: to do something special in order to remember and honor (an important event or person from the past)


com·​mem·​o·​rate | \kə-ˈme-mə-ˌrāt \
commemorated; commemorating

Kids Definition of commemorate

1 : to observe with a ceremony commemorate an anniversary

2 : to serve as a memorial of The statue commemorates the battle.

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