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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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

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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 The parade and associated ceremonies will be held at Beijing’s Tiananmen Square to commemorate the founding of the People’s Republic of China on Oct. 1, 1949, after Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalist army was defeated in a civil war. Fox News, "China bans flying pigeons, drones as Beijing preps for 70th anniversary military parade," 16 Sep. 2019 At a halftime ceremony during Hargrave’s home football game on Sept. 13, the players and coaches were honored and presented with championship rings to commemorate their state title. Elliott Lapin, Houston Chronicle, "Hargrave softball receives championship rings during ceremony at halftime of homecoming game," 15 Sep. 2019 Biden is scheduled to speak at the 56th anniversary memorial service to commemorate the bombing. Ivana Hrynkiw |, al, "Joe Biden to attend Sixteenth Street Baptist Church memorial service Sunday," 15 Sep. 2019 Gerard Houllier was spot on, Robbie Fowler was imitating a cow because that is a perfectly logical way to commemorate a goal against your biggest rivals., "8 of the Most Controversial Celebrations in Football History," 12 Sep. 2019 Lil Kim, Ashanti, and her boo, Quavo also hit the stage to commemorate the launch. Ashley Rushford, Essence, "NYFW: Saweetie Hosts Celeb-Filled Fashion Show With PrettyLittleThing," 9 Sep. 2019 All friends, family and patrons of APG are invited to participate in the 5K to commemorate the men and women lost during the 9/11 terrorist attack, and to honor all rescue personnel for their efforts. Record Staff,, "Aberdeen: Run to Remember honors 9/11 victims," 5 Sep. 2019 Mathieu also presented the chefs with personalized wooden spoons to commemorate their participation. La Cañada Valley Sun, "The Valley Line: Aspiring chefs given taste of success with Hillsides dinner," 3 Sep. 2019 The interest from the public gave Meiers, who coordinates events for the Marshall County Historical Society, the idea to hold an event at the museum to commemorate the famed UFO incident. Ann Bailey, Twin Cities, "Minnesota county commemorating 1970s UFO incident," 27 Aug. 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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Statistics for commemorate

Last Updated

24 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for commemorate

The first known use of commemorate was in 1599

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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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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).


meddlesome, informal, or unofficial

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