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: Adjective In 2017 Ng summarized his vision in a valedictory post on the blogging platform Medium announcing his resignation from the Chinese technology company Baidu. Sue Halpern, The New York Review of Books, 8 Apr. 2021 This shoot, with Vodianova as Farrand, model Karen Elson as her close friend and patron Mildred Bliss, and the actor Aldis Hodge as David Williston, the pioneering Black landscape artist who was Farrand’s peer, has a valedictory air. Chloe Malle, Vogue, 17 Aug. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Gianopulos sounded a valedictory note in his statement. Brent Lang, Variety, 13 Sep. 2021 That gives it time for at least one more world premiere, an all-Beethoven road show, and a European tour plus an entire valedictory season. Justin Davidson, Vulture, 26 Aug. 2021 His visit to the Bushwick Pool was part of a valedictory tour intended to spruce up his legacy. Hunter Walker, The New Yorker, 19 July 2021 Joachim Löw, Southgate’s counterpart, was in his valedictory tournament. New York Times, 29 June 2021 After nearly 30 years on the air, Conan O’Brien bid farewell on Thursday night with a low-key valedictory lap. Washington Post, 25 June 2021 Biden also looked back on the last few months with a valedictory for the advances during his first months in office against both the pandemic and unemployment. Chris Megerian, Los Angeles Times, 28 Apr. 2021 At the time, few knew that Pelosi was making plans for the 2016 election to be her valedictory. USA Today, 9 Apr. 2021 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, 16 Jan. 2021

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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The first known use of valedictory was in 1651

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Last Updated

13 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Valedictory.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Oct. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of valedictory

: 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

Nglish: Translation of valedictory for Spanish Speakers


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