Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To honor the memory of with a ceremony. See Synonyms at observe.
  • transitive v. To serve as a memorial to.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To honour the memory of someone or something with a ceremony.
  • v. To serve as a memorial to someone or something.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To call to remembrance by a special act or observance; to celebrate with honor and solemnity; to honor, as a person or event, by some act of respect or affection, intended to preserve the remembrance of the person or event.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To preserve the memory of by a solemn act; celebrate with honor and solemnity; honor, as a person or an event, by some act of respect or affection, intended to keep him or it in memory.
  • To serve as a memento or remembrancer of; perpetuate or celebrate the memory of: as, a monument commemorating a great battle; a book commemorating the services of a philanthropist.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. be or provide a memorial to a person or an event
  • v. call to remembrance; keep alive the memory of someone or something, as in a ceremony
  • v. mark by some ceremony or observation

Etymologies

Latin commemorāre, commemorāt-, to remind : com-, intensive pref.; see com- + memorāre, to remind (from memor, mindful; see (s)mer-1 in Indo-European roots).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin commemorare, from com- + memorare to remind of (see memory). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Columbus, and that his descendant the Duke of Veragua should in his title commemorate one of the most unfortunate of the Admiral's adventures.

    Christopher Columbus and the New World of His Discovery — Complete

  • Pictures, videos, and joyful phone calls commemorate every milestone: first tooth, mastering a two-wheeler, driver's license, graduation, job, marriage, and children of their own.

    The Nitty Gritty of Caring for Aging Parents

  • It is strange, as Winsor points out, that in the name of this coast should be preserved the only territorial remembrance of Columbus, and that his descendant the Duke of Veragua should in his title commemorate one of the most unfortunate of the Admiral's adventures.

    Christopher Columbus

  • Prospector George Tannihill christened it in 1866 as a mining district, saying he chose the name to commemorate the fierce battle he and twenty-three settlers led by a Captain Pierson had heroically won against marauding Indians there in 1857.

    The Fiddler in the Subway

  • Mr. Shaw's tale follows a disintegrating family that gathers at a beach house to "commemorate" the parents 'separation.

    A 'Closer' Opens Up

  • They were not intended to "commemorate" the dead, as our dead are commemorated in modern churches and cemeteries.

    Pharaohs, Fellahs and Explorers

  • Half a world away, the Muslim masses are being inflamed by a whackjob Florida preacher who plans to burn the Qur'an on Saturday to "commemorate" the ninth anniversary of the horror that was 9/11.

    Edmonton Sun

  • The national day of observance for King is one to "commemorate" what he achieved, said Joe Patterson, Martin Luther King Day planning committee member.

    The Gazette-Enterprise: News

  • Today, reporter Helen Thomas asked White House Press Secretary Dana Perino how the president would "commemorate" the date tomorrow.

    Think Progress

  • Why did Mr. Dixon feel it necessary to "commemorate" the 100th anniversary of a murder?

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