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 & Antonyms for commemorate


celebrate, keep, observe


break, transgress, violate

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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

Flags atop the Cloverdale Road overpass commemorate the victims of the fiery June 16 crash that killed four people on Interstate 84 below. John Sowell, idahostatesman, "Contractor herding traffic near fiery I-84 crash had safety plan. Here's what it said," 29 June 2018 The group is also working with local Moms Demand Action members to organize a National Wear Orange day on June 2 to commemorate victims of gun violence. Diane Smith, star-telegram, "Spurred to act over shootings, graduating seniors promise to 'save the world'," 1 June 2018 Fans in the city have come together to commemorate the victims of the brutal attack. Rania Aniftos, Billboard, "Ariana Grande Shares Video of Fans in Manchester Singing 'No Tears Left to Cry' on Anniversary of Attack," 22 May 2018 Santa Fe residents and leaders gathered with those from other nearby towns in League City on Sunday for a candlelight ceremony and prayer to commemorate the victims of Friday's mass shooting at Santa Fe High School. Dana Burke, Houston Chronicle, "Candlelight vigil in League City commemorates Santa Fe school shooting victims," 21 May 2018 Last season, the Ducks played in the Las Vegas Bowl and for the game, Crosby changed his number from 73 to 58 to commemorate the 58 victims in last year's mass shooting in Las Vegas. Detroit Free Press Staff, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Lions draft Oregon's Tyrell Crosby: 'A bad-bodied assassin'," 28 Apr. 2018 For now, the Mexican fans were happy to party, lingering around the stands on Saturday night long after the players had departed the field, taking pictures to commemorate the moment. Andrew Keh, New York Times, "Love Story: Mexico Wins Again and Its Fans Roar for the Coach," 24 June 2018 Temple Beth El of Hollywood's June 23 Ahava Havdalah starting at 7 p.m. will commemorate LGBTQ Awareness in a campfire setting of inclusiveness, Havdalah prayer, s'mores, songs and spirits. Sergio Carmona, Jewish Journal, "Synagogues celebrate LGBTQ community during Pride Month," 15 June 2018 Later this year, the world will commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Chito Gascon, Time, "What the Philippines Tells Us About the Broken Promises of Human Rights," 30 May 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

10 Oct 2018

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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).


one that holds something together

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