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

People lay flowers and pay tribute outside Kensington Palace to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the death of Princess Diana. Rachel E. Greenspan, Time, "Prince Louis' Christening Venue Has a Poignant Tie to Princess Diana. Here's What to Know About the Chapel Royal," 9 July 2018 Witt was part of a group from the Chicago area headed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel that traveled to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington June 24 and 25 to commemorate the museum’s 25th anniversary. Steve Sadin,, "Shout Out: Joyce Witt, Holocaust educator," 28 June 2018 A few weeks ago, tens of thousands of supporters gathered in Pilsudski Square in Warsaw to commemorate the eighth anniversary of the crash. Marc Santora, New York Times, "After a President’s Shocking Death, a Suspicious Twin Reshapes a Nation," 16 June 2018 To commemorate their 25th anniversary, the Florida Panthers unveiled a logo that didn’t feature a Florida panther at all. Matthew Defranks,, "Panthers focus on location — not mascot — in 25th anniversary logo," 15 June 2018 Large events are planned for 2019 to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the invasion. Shelby Fleig, USA TODAY, "D-Day: Five things to know on the 74th anniversary," 6 June 2018 The immediate and extended family of Martin Luther King, Jr. gathered at his crypt to commemorate the 50th anniversary of his assassination. Ajc Homepage, ajc, "ICYMI: Ex-city official indicted, missing CDC worker’s body found, a somber anniversary," 7 Apr. 2018 To commemorate this anniversary, U.S. Postal Service will release a Forever Stamp depicting Fred Rogers and King Friday VIII, a puppet from the show’s Neighborhood of Make-Believe, in March. Caroline Rogers, Southern Living, "There’s a Mister Rogers Biopic in the Works," 15 Mar. 2018 The spacecraft is one of more than 20 other, one-of-a-kind artifacts, including Aldrin's visor and gloves, that have been on display at the Houston museum since October to commemorate the 50th anniversary in 2019 of man's first step on the moon. Alex Stuckey, Houston Chronicle, "Time is running out to see the Apollo 11 spacecraft, other artifacts from the first lunar landing," 14 Mar. 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

7 Nov 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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