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

That monument commemorates Chinese who fought alongside North Koreans against Americans during the Korean War. Washington Post, "China’s Xi to visit North Korea as both countries lock horns with United States," 17 June 2019 From Fresno to Oakland to Oxnard, thousands of Californians commemorated Juneteenth with celebrations over the weekend. Julia Wick,, "Essential California: Facebook’s coming cryptocurrency and a Slack IPO in the week ahead," 17 June 2019 Juneteenth commemorates the end of slavery in the United States dating back to 1865 on June 19. Andy Cross, The Know, "PHOTOS: Juneteenth Music Festival and parade in Five Points," 15 June 2019 The holiday commemorates the adoption of the national flag in 1777 by the Continental Congress. Erin Davis And Brandon Griggs, CNN, "Here are 5 ways to show your patriotism on Flag Day 2019," 14 June 2019 This weekend, the San Antonio Juneteenth Association will commemorate the 154th anniversary of Juneteenth, the day in 1865 when Union Gen. Gordon Granger arrived at Galveston and read General Order No. Vincent T. Davis,, "San Antonio Juneteenth Association celebrates emancipation," 13 June 2019 As the ceremony got underway, Principal Digna Marte commemorated the closing of her first year as head of school as well as the end of the graduates’ time as high school students. Slade Rand,, "’There is no wall too high’: Bulkeley High School celebrates class of 2019," 11 June 2019 Personal Note Last week, the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings was commemorated. Jerry Shnay, Daily Southtown, "Shnay: Bad spring ends on high note," 10 June 2019 Two days of ceremonies commemorated the 75th anniversary of the Normandy landings of 1944. The Economist, "Politics this week," 8 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

20 Jun 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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