Definition of commemoration in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /kəmɛməˈreɪʃ(ə)n/


[mass noun]
1The action or fact of commemorating a dead person or past event: local martyrs received public commemoration the window was ordered by the duchess in commemoration of her son
More example sentences
  • On Saturday last he planted a willow tree in commemoration of the event, surrounded by his friends.
  • The event is held annually in commemoration of the founding of the Organization of the African Unity.
  • In commemoration of the event a 20 Baht coin has been struck.
1.1 [count noun] A ceremony or celebration in which a person or event is remembered: commemorations of wartime anniversaries
More example sentences
  • Recent days have seen a series of commemorations of defining events in the past century of Bulgarian history.
  • Each year since 1796, commemorations of the key events are organised in Ireland.
  • Limited editions are frequently produced, often based around special events and commemorations.


Late Middle English: from Latin commemoratio(n-), from the verb commemorare 'bring to remembrance' (see commemorate).

  • memory from Middle English:

    English adopted the Latin word memoria twice, first directly from Latin in the Middle Ages as memory, then in the 15th century through French as memoir. The earliest sense of memoir was ‘a memorandum’; people's memoirs, either recording historical events or recounting their own lives, appeared in the 17th century. Latin memoria is formed from memor ‘mindful’, from which memorable (Late Middle English); remember (Middle English); remind (mid 17th century); reminisce (early 19th century); and commemoration (Late Middle English) also come. A 1903 song introduced the world to memory lane, while another song took the same title in 1924. In both lyrics people ‘wandered’, whereas nowadays we take a trip down memory lane when we indulge in pleasant or sentimental memories. In medieval times and later, merchants, lawyers, and diplomats would write memorandum that… at the head of a note of something to be remembered or a record of what had been done. In Latin memorandum means ‘it is to be remembered’, and is a form of memorare, ‘to bring to mind’. Memento (Late Middle English) is also pure Latin. It was at first a prayer of commemoration and is an order to ‘remember!’.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: com|mem¦or|ation

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.