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 Noda made a pair of family portraits to commemorate the occasion. Eve Sneider, The New York Review of Books, "Days in the Life of Tetsuya Noda," 4 July 2020 Originally called the Kazinga National Park, Uganda's most popular game reserve was renamed after Queen Elizabeth II to commemorate the monarch's visit to the British colony in 1954. Bukola Adebayo And Samson Ntale, CNN, "From Uganda to Nigeria, activists are calling on their governments to remove colonialists names from streets," 3 July 2020 Trump said last month during a trip to the border in Arizona to commemorate the completion of 200 linear miles of new steel barriers. Nick Miroff, Washington Post, "Trump administration hires tech firm to build a virtual border wall, an idea Democrats have praised," 2 July 2020 To commemorate Juneteenth, Butler athletics announced the launch of BUnited, an initiative focused on empathy, education and experience. David Woods, The Indianapolis Star, "Butler's Black basketball players navigate a white campus: 'You do stick out.'," 25 June 2020 Hundreds soldiered on through the June heat Saturday morning in a march down Woodward Avenue to commemorate Juneteenth. Miriam Marini, Detroit Free Press, "'The voices will be heard': Juneteenth march draws hundreds in downtown Detroit," 20 June 2020 The general would have no knowledge that June 19 would become the most popular date to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States. Kirby Adams, The Courier-Journal, "Union general who made Juneteenth announcement in 1865 is buried in this Kentucky cemetery," 19 June 2020 Browder said there’s not a more fitting place to commemorate Juneteenth, which marks the end of slavery in the United States in 1865, or to keep up the calls for police reform and racial justice in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd. Mike Cason |, al, "Montgomery slave market site bears ‘Black Lives Matter’ mural," 19 June 2020 Juneteenth—also known as Freedom Day, Emancipation Day, or Jubilee Day—falls on June 19 to commemorate the end of legal slavery in the United States. Jenny Singer, Glamour, "How to Celebrate—And Commemorate—Juneteenth," 17 June 2020

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

9 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Commemorate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Jul. 2020.

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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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