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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from commemorate

commemorator \ kə-​ˈme-​mə-​ˌrā-​tər How to pronounce commemorate (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for commemorate


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 In 2017, Lankford helped organize the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission to acknowledge the painful history and commemorate those who died. Tyler Van Dyke, Washington Examiner, "James Lankford apologizes to black constituents for questioning Electoral College results," 15 Jan. 2021 Attendees will commemorate King's legacy as a social justice activist and learn how to be active in social justice today. Gabriel Morley | Contributing Writer,, "MLK Day celebration at Orleans Library looks at social justice, then and now," 8 Jan. 2021 Guests can commemorate 20 years of Barons Market’s second location with a free Barons brownie. Laura Groch, San Diego Union-Tribune, "North County Business Briefs, Dec. 10," 10 Dec. 2020 And many Indigenous people will commemorate the 50th National Day of Mourning, amid overdue need of being honest about the holiday's true history. Wyatte Grantham-philips, USA TODAY, "Ready for Thanksgiving 2020? Make sure you do these 8 things before Thursday," 24 Nov. 2020 Similar pendants have been spotted at Mejuri and Gorjana, though, so even if Fisher doesn’t make Turner’s specific necklace a public option, other mothers can commemorate important dates through jewelry from other brands. Eliza Huber,, "Sophie Turner’s New Necklace Has A Secret About Baby Willa — & It’s Already Trending," 16 Nov. 2020 The royals will commemorate National Day of Mourning for victims of war during their visit. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla Travel to Berlin for the National Day of Mourning," 15 Nov. 2020 The partnership will commemorate homecoming season, an annual fall celebration for students at historically Black colleges and universities. Divya Balji, Fortune, "Peloton teams with Beyoncé to produce new workout series," 10 Nov. 2020 Throughout the pandemic, Americans have erected memorials and created art to commemorate the lives lost to the coronavirus. Matthew Brown, USA TODAY, "Biden inaugural events to include memorial ceremony for COVID-19 victims on Jan. 19," 1 Jan. 2021

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

Time Traveler for commemorate

Time Traveler

The first known use of commemorate was in 1599

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast about commemorate

Statistics for commemorate

Last Updated

23 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Commemorate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jan. 2021.

Keep scrolling for more

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.

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Slippery Words Quiz—Changing with the Times

  • ducreux self portrait yawning
  • What is an earlier meaning of nice?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!