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

farewell, parting

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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


a valedictory address given by the college president upon his retirement


He received a very warm valedictory for his long career.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 United, in what would prove to be Ferguson’s final season, cruised to a valedictory title. Rory Smith, New York Times, "On Sánchez, City Passes and United Strikes," 19 Jan. 2018 Justice Kennedy’s final opinions on the court had a valedictory quality. Adam Liptak, New York Times, "In Influence if Not in Title, This Has Been the Kennedy Court," 27 June 2018 Matthew Brun of Libertyville gave the valedictory address. Kathy Routliffe,, "Loyola Academy graduates salute past, greet future at Gentile Center," 29 May 2018 But nobody has matched the valedictory of Michael Anton, who ended a roiling 14-month stint at the National Security Council on Tuesday by cooking dinner for the president of France. Mark Landler, New York Times, "A National Security Aide’s Departing Wish: Cooking for the State Dinner," 24 Apr. 2018 The mere threat of a valedictory photo-op deterred previous American presidents from meeting their North Korean counterparts. Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, "On trade and North Korea, Trump tries to play disrupter," 4 June 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

The first known use of valedictory was in 1651

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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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Spanish Central: Translation of valedictory

Nglish: Translation of valedictory for Spanish Speakers

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