val·​e·​dic·​to·​ry | \ ˌva-lə-ˈdik-t(ə-)rē How to pronounce valedictory (audio) \

Definition of valedictory

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: of or relating to a valediction : expressing or containing a farewell


plural valedictories

Definition of valedictory (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an address or statement of farewell or leave-taking

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Synonyms for valedictory

Synonyms: Adjective

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Valedictory addresses delivered by earnest young valedictorians at high school and college graduations are as much a sign of spring in the United States as baseball games and cookouts. Though we don't know where the first valedictory address was given, we do know that the word was an institution at some colleges in the U.S. by the mid-1700s. English speakers and writers have also used "valedictory" in non-academic settings since the mid-1600s. Since a valedictory speech is given at the end of an academic career, it is perfectly in keeping with the meaning of its Latin ancestor, valedicere, which means "to say farewell."

Examples of valedictory in a Sentence

Adjective a valedictory address given by the college president upon his retirement Noun He received a very warm valedictory for his long career.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun If Negro Life at the South is a seminal antebellum picture, Homer’s The Gulf Stream is a valedictory. Brian T. Allen, National Review, "To the 1619 Project: Use More Art, Less Fake History," 25 Jan. 2020 And even the blockbuster successes, the stories that make the valedictory lap that is GoFundMe’s homepage, are much more complicated than any viral marketer would care to admit. Rachel Monroe, The Atlantic, "When GoFundMe Gets Ugly," 9 Oct. 2019 Unfiltered Titospeak is very much like Shildt’s postgame valedictory., "The language of baseball: Often crude, sometimes comical," 13 Oct. 2019 During that valedictory weekend, Jacy vanishes without a trace. Mameve Medwed,, "In Richard Russo’s “Chances Are...,” an incomplete reunion brings overdue revelations," 25 July 2019 In his absence, The Holy Bible has been likened to Joy Division’s Closer and Nirvana’s In Utero: the valedictory statements of brilliant, troubled young men. Longreads, "Manic Street Preachers’ Album The Holy Bible," 25 June 2019 The truth is this juggernaut of a series has been in a valedictory mood for some time now, and never more so than on the eve of its return. Taylor Antrim, Vogue, "It’s (Past) Time to Say Goodbye to Game of Thrones," 12 Apr. 2019 Finally, pardon a valedictory cynicism, but the most important truth about any political proposal is the part unsaid. Holman W. Jenkins, WSJ, "Big Names Bake a Climate Pie in the Sky," 18 Jan. 2019 There’s a valedictory sadness to these memories, but Tolstaya isn’t the type to pine. Lev Grossman, New York Times, "Are Her Characters Seeing Things? Maybe. Maybe Not.," 5 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'valedictory.' 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 valedictory


1651, in the meaning defined above


1779, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for valedictory


borrowed from New Latin valedictōrius, from Latin valedic-, alternate stem of vale dīcere, valedīcere "to say goodbye" + -tōrius, adjective suffix (originally derivatives of agent nouns ending in -tōr-, -tor) — more at valediction


noun derivative of valedictory entry 1

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Time Traveler for valedictory

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The first known use of valedictory was in 1651

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Cite this Entry

“Valedictory.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for valedictory



English Language Learners Definition of valedictory

formal : a speech that expresses good wishes for someone who is leaving : the act of saying goodbye in a formal way

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with valedictory

Spanish Central: Translation of valedictory

Nglish: Translation of valedictory for Spanish Speakers

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