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 for commemorate


memorialize, monumentalize

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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

Harry will travel to Bardufoss, Norway to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Exercise Clockwork. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "It Looks Like Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Won't Be Spending Valentine's Day Together," 28 Jan. 2019 Lincoln will build 80 of these cars with the old-style doors to commemorate the model's 80th anniversary. Ezra Dyer, Popular Mechanics, "The Lincoln Continental Is Bringing Back Suicide Doors," 17 Dec. 2018 Now Other royals vying for best-dressed this week: on the day of her 71st wedding anniversary, the queen made an appearance in a typically colorful pink suit to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "Prince Louis’ Outfits Are Already Selling Out," 21 Nov. 2018 Yesterday saw her join King Felipe VI for a military ceremony in Madrid, and today the monarchs were together again to commemorate the 210th anniversary of the Battle of Bailén. Edward Barsamian, Vogue, "Queen Letizia of Spain Pairs Carolina Herrera With Her Favorite Under-$100 Heels," 19 July 2018 Some car companies and auto show regulars are commemorating this last winter event by sitting it out. Adrienne Roberts, WSJ, "Slush, Snow, the ‘Cobo Cough.’ Detroit Holds Its Last Winter Auto Show," 13 Jan. 2019 On September 1 this year the world will commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Nazi invasion of Poland, which heralded the beginning of World War II in earnest. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Study Shows Precisely How Nazi Infrastructure Enabled the Worst of the Holocaust," 2 Jan. 2019 Priyanka commemorated the epic double date with an Instagram photo featuring her future husband, Nick Jonas, and future in-laws, smiling giddily from the stands under the night sky. Dan Barna, Teen Vogue, "Nick Jonas, Priyanka Chopra, Joe Jonas, and Sophie Turner Double Dated at the U.S. Open," 5 Sep. 2018 The Security Council meeting on Tuesday commemorated the first anniversary of the crackdown. Edith M. Lederer, The Seattle Times, "Cate Blanchett: Nothing prepared me for Rohingya suffering," 28 Aug. 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

14 Feb 2019

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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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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).


very full or close together

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