com·​mem·​o·​rate | \ kə-ˈme-mə-ˌrāt How to pronounce commemorate (audio) \
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 How to pronounce commemorator (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for commemorate


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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 Nearby, exhibits at the Monroe County Museum commemorate the lives of the town’s two most famous residents, Capote and his childhood friend, Nelle Harper Lee. Kelly Kazek |, al, "Alabama town served as setting for Truman Capote film ‘The Thanksgiving Visitor’," 7 Nov. 2019 A year after their criminal records were expunged, Elizabeth Ramirez, Cassandra Rivera, Kristie Mayhugh and Anna Vasquez will commemorate the anniversary with an event to raise funds for The Innocence Project of Texas. Ashley Mcbride,, "‘San Antonio Four’ to hold fundraiser celebrating their exoneration," 13 Oct. 2019 There was African drumming, gospel music, healing rituals, poetry, speeches—along with prayers and tears—as thousands gathered in Hampton, Virginia to commemorate 400 years since slavery began in English North America. Donna M. Owens, Essence, "Commemorating 400 years Of Black History In Hampton, Virginia," 27 Aug. 2019 The Deadpool star commemorated his wife's birthday by posting a series of unflattering photos to her on his 'gram. Krystin Arneson, Glamour, "Ryan Reynolds Just Trolled Blake Lively With Unflattering Photos for Her Birthday," 25 Aug. 2019 The path where the woman and the two children stand commemorated. Ciaran Carson, The New Yorker, "Claude Monet, “The Artist’s Garden at Vétheuil,” 1880," 12 Aug. 2019 Jenner commemorated the end of her trip by switching to much shorter hair, opting for the ubiquitous long bob reminiscent of her hair in the KKW X Kylie Round 2 campaign. Amanda Mitchell, Allure, "Kylie Jenner’s Post-Vacation Lob Is Making Us Consider a Haircut," 29 July 2019 A few hundred people gathered for the ceremony to commemorate her ultimate sacrifice 54 years ago when the Detroiter became the only white woman to die for the civil rights movement. Julie Hinds And Micah Walker, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit statue finds a barefoot, undaunted Viola Liuzzo walking again for civil rights," 23 July 2019 This summer, the world commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission with recollections of the life of Neil Armstrong, many of them serious, some whimsical. Anne Saker,, "Neil Armstrong: Mercy Health paid his family $6 million settlement after his death," 23 July 2019

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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Time Traveler for commemorate

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The first known use of commemorate was in 1599

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Last Updated

5 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Commemorate.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 14 December 2019.

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More Definitions for commemorate


How to pronounce commemorate (audio)

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 How to pronounce commemorate (audio) \
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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