Definition of commemorate in English:



[with object]
  • 1Recall and show respect for (someone or something)

    ‘a wreath-laying ceremony to commemorate the war dead’
    ‘a stone commemorating a boy who died at sea’
    • ‘So he argued against the rich being able to commemorate their war dead with ornate personal graves.’
    • ‘Sixty years on, that spirit is remembered and celebrated as 15 Heads of State participate in a ceremony which will commemorate the values the veterans fought for.’
    • ‘More than 4,000 petals were dropped at a ceremony to commemorate police officers killed in the line of duty.’
    • ‘Things began well, with a moving ceremony commemorating the firefighters who had lost their lives and honoring local firefighters who had gone to New York afterwards to help out.’
    • ‘Youngsters have recited poetry to commemorate a century of war.’
    • ‘Gabriel Fawcett investigates how the Germans commemorate the losses they sustained in the First and Second World Wars.’
    • ‘The ceremony is held annually to commemorate the lives of all Irish people who have died in past wars or while on service with the United Nations.’
    • ‘World leaders and thousands of people are commemorating a grim anniversary today.’
    • ‘How does the government intend to commemorate the war dead in the future?’
    • ‘The Yasukuni is controversial because it commemorates Japan's military dead, including some who were convicted war criminals.’
    • ‘I have laid a wreath at the Cenotaph in Belfast to commemorate the British war dead.’
    • ‘The medal was first established in 1856 after the end of the Crimean War to commemorate actions of extreme bravery in the face of the enemy.’
    • ‘From April 8 people will be able to opt for a civic ceremony tailored to commemorate the life and times of their loved ones.’
    • ‘On Good Friday, continental Europeans commemorate that Christ was crucified and died to absolve our sins and give us eternal salvation.’
    • ‘In subsequent years, the hour and day was set aside to commemorate the war dead of the Allied nations.’
    • ‘Unlike Veterans Day, which commemorates living veterans, Memorial Day is expressly intended as a day to memorialize the sacrifice of men and women who have given their lives in uniform.’
    • ‘Together with many of his old comrades and his wife, Stella, Peter will be at a ceremony in Westminster to commemorate the anniversary of the battle.’
    • ‘Having mourned their dead, commemorated their martyrs and heroes, all the peoples of Europe, including the Germans, recovered from their wounds, rebuilt their shattered cities.’
    • ‘Small wonder that many ex-Servicemen who survived the conflicts which claimed the lives of those commemorated on memorials such as this despair of what has become of the country they fought to protect.’
    • ‘Veterans of one of the landmark battles of the Second World War were reunited in York at the weekend to commemorate the campaign.’
    keep alive, keep going, keep in existence, preserve, conserve, sustain, maintain, continue, extend, carry on, keep up, cause to continue, prolong
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Mark or celebrate (an event or person) by doing or producing something.
      ‘the victory was commemorated in songs’
      • ‘She has dealt with countless compensation claims from sufferers and their loved ones, including many of the Railway Works staff commemorated by the Swindon Disease memorial garden in Queen's Park.’
      • ‘In 1902 Martha Washington became the first American woman to be commemorated by a U.S. postage stamp.’
      • ‘He was awarded the Trinity Cross in 1978, his portrait adorned two postage stamps and six calypso songs were penned to commemorate his triumph.’
      • ‘I danced into the morning to celebrate the coming-of-age of young men and fell asleep in a dark hut while marriages and deaths were commemorated in song.’
      • ‘The fight for independence during the past century is commemorated throughout the land by war memorials and museums displaying what are now known as the remnants of war.’
      • ‘Halfway down the hill Hector Pieterson was shot and fell, on 16 June, and the spot is now commemorated with a stark stone memorial to the 12-year-old boy.’
      • ‘I was born In The Summer Of '69, and a song was written to commemorate the occasion.’
      celebrate, pay tribute to, pay homage to, honour, salute, toast
      View synonyms


Late 16th century: from Latin commemorat- ‘brought to remembrance’, from the verb commemorare, from com- ‘altogether’ + memorare ‘relate’ (from memor ‘mindful’).