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

Keep scrolling for more

Other words from commemorate

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

Synonyms & Antonyms for commemorate


celebrate, keep, observe


break, transgress, violate

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Tisha B'Av, which begins this year at sundown on July 21 and ends on July 22 at night fall, is an annual holy day commemorating the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem. Sergio Carmona, Jewish Journal, "Temples plan observances of Tisha B'Av, saddest day in Jewish history," 13 July 2018 The group name commemorating some of the last great players under Heathcote have the necessary speed to win a halfcourt game, but the playmaking of Green and Valentine set up Lucas perfectly. Kirkland Crawford, Detroit Free Press, "Who wins if Detroit Pistons, Michigan, MSU created localBig3 league?," 11 July 2018 The legacy of Wind Gap itself is also a loaded one, as the series reveals in an episode dedicated to Calhoun Day, the festival commemorating the town’s founding. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "The Twisted, Enthralling Rot of Sharp Objects," 7 July 2018 Trump spent most of his time at the Tuesday dinner, which was held in conjunction with a golf tournament at The Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, commemorating the Fourth of July and military service. David Jackson, USA TODAY, "On eve of Independence Day, Trump salutes military and 'tough' ICE immigration agents," 3 July 2018 The Roman Catholic archbishop of New York has joined New York National Guard leaders in Times Square for a ceremony commemorating the centennial of the battlefield service of a storied Army chaplain. Fox News, "Times Square ceremony honors Father Duffy of WWI fame," 27 June 2018 Parks and arts: For a city of its size, Signal Hill has quite a few parks, many of which contain public artwork commemorating the city’s history. Scott Garner,, "Neighborhood Spotlight: Signal Hill keeps progress in view without blocking out its oil town past," 22 June 2018 The expansive green areas with giant shade trees also were places for major celebrations, including Juneteenth — commemorating June 19, 1865, the day that Union Gen. Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston to announce that slavery had ended. Vincent T. Davis, San Antonio Express-News, "Historian and UTSA archaeologists discover remains at forgotten African American burial site," 18 June 2018 First up on the pair’s itinerary was a ceremony commemorating the opening of a new toll bridge, the Mersey Gateway Bridge over the River Mersey. Shanté Honeycutt, Billboard, "Meghan Markle Makes Her First Solo Outing With the Queen: See the Photos," 14 June 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about commemorate

Share commemorate

Listen to Our Podcast about commemorate

Statistics for commemorate

Last Updated

12 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for commemorate

The first known use of commemorate was in 1599

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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.

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on commemorate

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


an open space surrounded by woods

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Food Quiz

Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


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!