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 In 2013, the nonprofit Project 120 and the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Chicago planted 160 trees to commemorate the 120th anniversary of the 1893 World’s Fair and the upcoming 50th anniversary of JCCC (in 2016). Adam Lukach,, "New Bronzeville wine bar | Cherry blossoms in Chicago | Oscars 2021: Do we still care?," 14 Apr. 2021 Grimly, Rivero, 43, has continued to commemorate other unarmed Black victims in the years after the Zimmerman verdict. New York Times, "A Brooklyn Artist Wants Sports Fans to Wear Their Names," 7 Apr. 2021 Before then, the only day of recognition the trans community had was Transgender Day of Remembrance – a day of mourning held on Nov. 20 to commemorate trans people who have died in the previous year. Jay A. Irwin, The Conversation, "Trans Day of Visibility offers chance for community to stand in solidarity and support," 29 Mar. 2021 City and fire department officials held a ribbon-cutting to commemorate the opening of the station, which is expected to meet a goal of arriving at calls in seven minutes 90 percent of the time, according to the fire department. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Chula Vista Fire Station 5 has a new home on Orange Avenue," 26 Mar. 2021 To commemorate discovery of this area in 1742 by the Sons of Verendrye, celebrated French explorer. Jennifer Nalewicki, Smithsonian Magazine, "You Can Still Visit These Six Former National Parks," 22 Mar. 2021 Biden has held memorial events to commemorate COVID-19 death toll milestones since his inauguration, such as when the country reached more than 500,000 deaths. Naomi Lim, Washington Examiner, "Biden to address anniversary of coronavirus lockdown during first prime-time remarks," 8 Mar. 2021 Criterion released an amazing boxed set of Toho Godzilla films last year to commemorate spine No. 1,000 in its collection. Brian Tallerico, Vulture, "The 100 Best Movies on HBO Max," 1 Feb. 2021 Will the Lakers do anything to commemorate that tragedy for Wednesday’s game near Bryant’s hometown in Philadelphia? Mark Medina, USA TODAY, "Kobe and Gianna Bryant tragedy: How Lakers and NBA have struggled to cope with losing an icon," 26 Jan. 2021

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

29 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Commemorate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 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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