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 commemorator (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 Goldschlager argues the country has always wanted to commemorate, first and foremost, the tragedies of the non-Jewish Poles. Amos Barshad, Longreads, "Remembering the Things That Remain," 10 Aug. 2020 Only 44 years later, did the IOC finally commemorate the victims before the 2016 Rio Games. Aron Heller, Star Tribune, "Israeli team's massacre overshadows sports at 1972 Olympics," 7 Aug. 2020 Unlike Gilmore and her children, Leona Casey didn’t commemorate her daughter’s first day of school. David J. Kim, The Courier-Journal, "'Right now, this is the best way': Clarksville schools return to in-person classes, sort of," 6 Aug. 2020 Quarrels over how to commemorate, or legally adjudicate, the conflict still absorb much political energy. The Economist, "Obituary John Hume’s vision of peace in Northern Ireland is only half-fulfilled," 5 Aug. 2020 Noname released a list of books on prison reform and Black resistance movements to commemorate the month, including works by George Jackson, Assata Shakur and Octavia Butler. Harmeet Kaur, CNN, "Activists are commemorating Black August. Here's the history behind the month-long celebration," 3 Aug. 2020 During Eid al-Adha, or the festival of sacrifice, Muslims commemorate the prophet Ibrahim’s test of faith by slaughtering livestock and animals and distributing the meat to the poor., "UK has Europe’s worst surge in deaths during pandemic, study says," 31 July 2020 Warren's measure also extends to other military assets named for the Confederate officers and requires the Defense Department to remove names, symbols, displays and monuments that commemorate the Confederacy within three years. Melissa Quinn, CBS News, "Trump says he'll veto defense bill over renaming bases honoring Confederate leaders," 1 July 2020 During a press briefing on Monday, Ryan Lizza, chief Washington correspondent for Politico, introduced his questions by mentioning the national discussion around statues and flags that commemorate the Confederacy. Haley Victory Smith, Washington Examiner, "'Absurd': Kayleigh McEnany chides reporter for questioning if Trump is glad South lost Civil War," 29 June 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.

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

14 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Commemorate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Aug. 2020.

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

Name That Thing: Animal Edition

  • alt 5a023732e6f75
  • Name that animal:
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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