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 commemorate (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 Last month, Nintendo launched this limited edition Nintendo Switch to commemorate Mario Day on March 10. Zoe Malin, NBC News, "Notable launches from Nintendo, Uniqlo, Madewell, Blueair, Schick and more," 22 Mar. 2021 Premier Mario Draghi visited the northern city on Thursday to commemorate a national day of mourning for Italy's coronavirus victims. Nicole Winfield, Star Tribune, "Italy honors COVID dead with living monument on anniversary," 18 Mar. 2021 Many of the Democratic congresswomen wore all-white outfits to commemorate the day, a nod to the women’s suffrage movement when marchers would wear white dresses to symbolized the femininity and purity of their cause. Kevin Freking, ajc, "House passes domestic violence bill, pushes issue to Senate," 18 Mar. 2021 Pope Francis shared a message of nonviolence to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Carly Roman, Washington Examiner, "Pope Francis shares MLK Day message of peace after Capitol riot," 18 Jan. 2021 Veterans basketball: The Cleveland Cavaliers invited local veterans and their families to participate in a basketball clinic Wednesday night on the main court at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse to commemorate Veterans Day. cleveland, "Closing restaurants to stop coronavirus? Gov. Mike DeWine adds few details to threat: The Wake Up for Friday, Nov. 13, 2020," 13 Nov. 2020 Around 60 people gathered outside the American Legion Post 974 to commemorate Veterans Day on a crisp, sunny Wednesday in Franklin Park. Anna Kim,, "Franklin Park American Legion holds Veterans Day ceremony, adds names to memorial," 12 Nov. 2020 Thousands of Polish nationalists marched in central Warsaw to commemorate independence day, defying pandemic rules and clashing with the police. Wojciech Moskwa,, "Polish Nationalists Clash With Police in Independence Day March," 11 Nov. 2020 Queen Elizabeth has made two appearances this weekend to commemorate Remembrance Day, and pay tribute to all of the military personnel who have lost their lives to war. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Queen Wears a Face Mask in Public for the First Time to Visit the Grave of the Unknown Warrior," 8 Nov. 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

11 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Commemorate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 May. 2021.

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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 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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