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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for valedictory

Synonyms: Adjective

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Did You Know?


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 On Thursday, the White House e-mailed a brief statement to reporters from Trump that could mark a final, 67-word valedictory. Eli Stokols, Star Tribune, "Pence steps in as Trump bows out," 16 Jan. 2021 On Thursday, the White House emailed a brief statement to reporters from Trump that could mark a final, 67-word valedictory. Author: Eli Stokols, Anchorage Daily News, "Trump retreats from his job, and Pence fills the void as ‘acting’ president," 16 Jan. 2021 The president has asked aides to explore a possible valedictory trip next week to the southern border as a means to highlight his immigration policies. The Associated Press,, "President Trump won't attend Joe Biden's inauguration," 8 Jan. 2021 Efforts to persuade Trump to do a valedictory tour for some of his accomplishments, or focus on the coronavirus vaccine, have been futile, said two advisers. Anchorage Daily News, "Increasingly frustrated Trump redoubles efforts to challenge election result," 21 Dec. 2020 Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who along with Ambassador David Friedman has been at the center of the administration’s pro-settlement tilt, arrived in Israel on Wednesday for a valedictory tour. Washington Post, "Israeli settlers in the West Bank confront the Biden reality and dig in for a fight," 19 Nov. 2020 Little about this apparent valedictory tour is surprising. Washington Post, "Trump and Pompeo embrace Israel’s one-state reality," 20 Nov. 2020 The piece feels both valedictory and quietly hopeful. New York Times, "In England, Closing a Chapter of Modern Dance," 18 Feb. 2020 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

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about valedictory

Time Traveler for valedictory

Time Traveler

The first known use of valedictory was in 1651

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast about valedictory

Statistics for valedictory

Cite this Entry

“Valedictory.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Feb. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

Keep scrolling for more

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

More from Merriam-Webster on valedictory

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for valedictory

Nglish: Translation of valedictory for Spanish Speakers

Comments on valedictory

What made you want to look up valedictory? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

More Confusing Words—Quiz

  • cats on impossible timber
  • The magician ______ moved the selected card to the top of the deck.
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!