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Independence Day

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noun
July 4, a U.S. holiday commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.
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Also called Fourth of July.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

MORE ABOUT INDEPENDENCE DAY

What is Independence Day?

Independence Day is a U.S. holiday in commemoration of July 4, 1776, the day on which the original 13 colonies of the United States declared independence from British rule with the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.

Independence Day is popularly called (the) Fourth of July. It’s also called July Fourth or simply the Fourth. It’s a patriotic holiday that’s often celebrated with parades, family gatherings, fireworks, and displays of red, white, and blue decorations, especially the American flag.

The name Independence Day is also used for other countries’ celebrations of their independence. For example, Mexico celebrates its Independence Day (Día de la Independencia) on September 16.

When is Independence Day?

Independence Day is always on July 4. However, it is a U.S. federal holiday, meaning that when July 4 falls on a Saturday, it is observed on the Friday immediately before, and when July 4 falls on a Sunday, it is observed on the Monday immediately after.

In 2021, July 4 falls on a Sunday, so Independence Day will be observed on Monday, July 5.

In 2022, Independence Day will be observed on Monday, July 4.

More information and context on Independence Day

On July 2, 1776, the Continental Congress voted to declare independence from Britain. Two days later, the Declaration of Independence was officially adopted, and this date, July 4, is the one that’s celebrated as Independence Day.

The fighting in what became known as the American Revolution had started earlier, in 1775, and lasted until 1781, with the war officially ending in 1783 with the Treaty of Paris.

The Fourth of July has been celebrated since the first anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, in 1777, and the Independence Day tradition of fireworks is believed to date back to this first celebration. However, Independence Day didn’t become a federal holiday until 1870.

Because Independence Day is a federal holiday, many people do not work that day. Along with firework displays, popular ways to celebrate include parades, concerts, sporting events, and cookouts.

However, some Americans object to celebrating the holiday, especially due to the fact that the Declaration of Independence did not result in freedom and equality for African Americans, Native Americans, and other people of color. Relatedly, Juneteenth (the holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the U.S.) is sometimes referred to as Black Independence Day, especially by Black Americans.

What are some terms that often get used in discussing Independence Day?

How is Independence Day discussed in real life?

In the U.S., Independence Day is popularly called Fourth of July. It’s a patriotic holiday that’s often celebrated in patriotic ways, such as parades. However, it’s not celebrated by all Americans, especially those who believe that the U.S. has a history of injustice that’s contradictory to the holiday’s focus on freedom. The name Independence Day is also used for other countries’ holidays.

Try using Independence Day!

True or False?

Independence Day commemorates the end of the American Revolution.

How to use Independence Day in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for Independence Day

Independence Day

noun
the official name for the Fourth of July
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Cultural definitions for Independence Day

Independence Day

The primary national holiday in the United States, celebrated every July 4; the anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. Customary festivities include picnics; parades; band concerts; decorations in red, white, and blue; and nighttime fireworks displays.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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