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


memorialize, monumentalize

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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

The church bells will then toll at 10:22 a.m., to commemorate the time of the bombing more than five decades ago. Ivana Hrynkiw |, al, "Joe Biden to attend Sixteenth Street Baptist Church memorial service Sunday," 15 Sep. 2019 This week, murals and shrines were created in the city to commemorate them. Washington Post, "Taliban kidnaps 6 Afghan journalists, capping a week of deadly militant attacks," 7 Sep. 2019 The president was set to commemorate the start of World War II and meet with Polish President Andrzej Duda. Rebecca Morin, USA TODAY, "Former Canadian Prime Minister Kim Campbell 'rooting' for Hurricane Dorian to hit Trump's Mar-a-Lago," 30 Aug. 2019 At its core, though, the Musée de la Libération strives to commemorate two individuals who pursued a common goal via varying routes. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "Paris Basement Used as WWII Resistance Headquarters Transformed Into Museum Centerpiece," 19 Aug. 2019 After speaking about and sharing memories of Flores, the group grabbed shovels to commemorate him permanently, planting the city’s first-ever Latin ethnobotanical edibles garden. Hasiten Willis, ajc, "Memorial garden honors first Latino police officer killed in Atlanta," 5 July 2019 But Queen Elizabeth’s second son tried to act like was not in the midst of this turmoil by attending an event in Bruges, Belgium to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the liberation of that country from German forces during World War II. Martha Ross, The Mercury News, "Prince Andrew’s bad news weekend: New reports say he ‘raged’ at royal aide and invited Jeffrey Epstein to daughter’s 18th birthday," 9 Sep. 2019 Mexican Independence Day is celebrated on Sept. 16 and commemorates the anniversary of Mexico’s independence from Spain. Jessica Villagomez,, "Paradegoers celebrate 50th anniversary of Mexican Independence Parade: ‘We’re seeing little kids learning our culture today, and that matters.’," 8 Sep. 2019 Andrew is to lay a wreath at the Charles II Memorial to commemorate the anniversary, before inspecting a Guard of Honor found by the Nijmegen Company of the Grenadier Guards at Market Square. Simon Perry,, "Prince Andrew’s Royal Duties Hit by Fallout from Scandal Surrounding Former Friend Jeffrey Epstein," 4 Sep. 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

10 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

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 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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