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

Sunday is International Asteroid Day, commemorating the Earth's largest recorded asteroid impact while focusing on the real danger of asteroids that could collide with Earth. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "On International Asteroid Day, here's what to know about the threat to Earth," 30 June 2019 Now a sculpture commemorating the efforts to vaccinate all people against the polio virus, has been dedicated at the Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora. Ved Nanda, The Denver Post, "Nanda: WHO, Rotary Clubs have made the world a healthier place," 27 June 2019 The statue was displayed at Great American Ball Park commemorating the 2008 All-Star Game played at Yankees Stadium, according to EBTH. Sarah Brookbank,, "Want to snag rare Cincinnati Reds memorabilia? You only have 2 days left," 27 June 2019 The Christoper Street West parade marched through 22 blocks of San Francisco on June 25, 1972, commemorating the resistance at the Stonewall Inn in New York City after a police raid three years earlier. Bill Van Niekerken,, "Rainbow gold mine: Early SF Pride Parade photos rediscovered in archive," 26 June 2019 That’s why the national museum hired Aimee Rubensteen, an acquisitions curator specifically for the area, to help people like Ross who want to understand and commemorate their families’ history. Catie Wegman,, "Families donate Holocaust artifacts in 'race against time’," 26 June 2019 Today, the 74-acre site is home to a memorial—a bronze caribou atop a granite pyramid—commemorating soldiers of the Canadian Armed Forces, in particular those from Newfoundland who bravely served their country. Jennifer Nalewicki, Smithsonian, "Explore These World War I Trenches and Tunnels in France and Belgium," 25 June 2019 Aria Sa’id, Janetta Johnson, and Honey Mahogany founded the first transgender cultural district in San Francisco, California, commemorating the Compton Cafeteria Riots a full three years prior to the Stonewall uprising. Alicia Garza, Marie Claire, "Trans Women Don’t Want Your Sympathy. They Want to Be Treated as Human Beings.," 24 June 2019 Officially observed in 46 states and the District of Columbia, Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, the day enslaved black Texans were finally informed slavery had ended in Confederate states two-and-half years earlier. Marcus Harrison Green, The Seattle Times, "Juneteenth in Seattle brings jubilation and reflection on justice not yet realized," 21 June 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

4 Jul 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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Comments on commemorate

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