verb com·mem·o·rate \kə-ˈme-mə-ˌrāt\

Definition of commemorate



  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to call to remembrance

  3. 2 :  to mark by some ceremony or observation :  observe <commemorate an anniversary>

  4. 3 :  to serve as a memorial of <a plaque that commemorates the battle>


play \-ˌrā-tər\ noun

Examples of commemorate in a sentence

  1. The festival commemorates the town's founding.

  2. The plaque commemorates the battle that took place here 200 years ago.

  3. Each year on this date we commemorate our ancestors with a special ceremony.

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.

Origin and Etymology of commemorate

Latin commemoratus, past participle of commemorare, from com- + memorare to remind of, from memor mindful — more at memory

First Known Use: 1599

Synonym Discussion of 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>.

keep, retain, detain, withhold, reserve mean to hold in one's possession or under one's control. keep may suggest a holding securely in one's possession, custody, or control <keep this while I'm gone>. retain implies continued keeping, especially against threatened seizure or forced loss <managed to retain their dignity even in poverty>. detain suggests a delay in letting go <detained them for questioning>. withhold implies restraint in letting go or a refusal to let go <withheld information from the authorities>. reserve suggests a keeping in store for future use <reserve some of your energy for the last mile>.

COMMEMORATE Defined for English Language Learners


verb com·mem·o·rate \kə-ˈme-mə-ˌrāt\

Definition of commemorate for English Language Learners

  • : 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)

COMMEMORATE Defined for Kids


verb com·mem·o·rate \kə-ˈme-mə-ˌrāt\

Definition of commemorate for Students



  1. 1 :  to observe with a ceremony <commemorate an anniversary>

  2. 2 :  to serve as a memorial of <The statue commemorates the battle.>

Seen and Heard

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a Mesopotamian temple tower

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