com·​mence | \ kə-ˈmen(t)s How to pronounce commence (audio) \
commenced; commencing

Definition of commence

transitive verb

: to enter upon : begin commence proceedings

intransitive verb

1 : to have or make a beginning : start
2 chiefly British : to take a degree at a university

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Other Words from commence

commencer noun

Choose the Right Synonym for commence

begin, commence, start, initiate, inaugurate, usher in mean to take the first step in a course, process, or operation. begin, start, and commence are often interchangeable. begin, opposed to end, is the most general. begin a trip began dancing start, opposed to stop, applies especially to first actions, steps, or stages. the work started slowly commence can be more formal or bookish than begin or start. commence firing commenced a conversation initiate implies taking a first step in a process or series that is to continue. initiated diplomatic contacts inaugurate suggests a beginning of some formality or notion of significance. the discovery of penicillin inaugurated a new era in medicine usher in is somewhat less weighty than inaugurate. ushered in a period of economic decline

Examples of commence in a Sentence

Dear God, I thought, I've been infected by an earworm. My friend the Longhair says that's what you call songs that burrow into your head and commence chewing your brains. — Stephen King, Entertainment Weekly, 24 Apr./1 May 2009 He thereupon commenced giving me this fantastically boring lecture about how the only reason I want a stuffed chicken is because they look so good in a shop window, and that the moment I received one I'd start dreaming up ways to ditch it. — Douglas Coupland, Generation X, 1991 The policy would commence not only with the limiting of permits for the building of hotels and boats but with supervision—through expert architectural advice—of the construction of these boats and hotels … — William Styron, This Quiet Dust and Other Writings, (1953) 1982 "Why shoot, I thought you wanted to be a lawyer, you've already commenced going to court." The ladies laughed again. — Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird, 1960 I have commenced two letters to send you before this, both of which displeased me before I got half done, and so I tore them up. — Abraham Lincoln, letter, 4 May 1837 The festivities will commence with a parade. Their contract commences in January. The court commenced criminal proceedings. The country has commenced preparations for war.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The four-year lease will commence on May 1 and end April 30, 2022. Kim Chatelain,, "Covington Police to get office and warehouse space downtown," 18 Apr. 2018 The two men will first meet for dinner on Wednesday, along with a few close advisers, before commencing broader discussions on Thursday. Vivian Salama, WSJ, "Trump Arrives in Vietnam for Second Summit With North Korean Leader," 26 Feb. 2019 Sophomore Luke Fuller added three of his own, but Devolve put the final nail in the coffin, hammering home a kill set up perfectly by a heavy Darby return that commenced the celebration. Shelby Dermer,, "Moeller beats Hilliard Darby for 8th state volleyball title in school history," 3 June 2018 Production of the car will commence in 2019, and when all 75 Senna GTRs are built, some 575 total examples of the model will be on global roads and racetracks, more than five times the number of F1s McLaren built in the 1990s. Erik Johnson, Car and Driver, "McLaren Senna GTR: A $1.4 Million, 814-Plus-HP Track-Bound Ballistic Missile," 6 Mar. 2018 As is tradition, a Midnight Quadrille commenced as the clock struck 12 and all the attendees joined in on the famous dance. Lilah Ramzi, Vogue, "Opera Divas and Debutantes: Inside the 64th Annual Viennese Opera Ball," 5 Feb. 2019 Duncan Robinson took a pass in the corner, rose for a three-pointer that fell through the basket and whirled around to watch his teammates commence Michigan's celebration. Ben Bolch,, "Michigan will face Cinderella Loyola Chicago after advancing to Final Four," 25 Mar. 2018 Coincidence how the Saints defense commenced its turnaround against the Panthers? Larry Holder,, "Grading the 2017 New Orleans Saints: Cornerback," 6 Feb. 2018 Let the Nick Saban-to-the-NFL talks commence now that he's won a fifth national title with the Crimson Tide (sixth overall, including 2003 at LSU). Dakota Crawford, Indianapolis Star, "Colts fans, pundits waste no time dragging Nick Saban's name into coaching search," 9 Jan. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'commence.' 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 commence

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for commence

Middle English comencen, from Anglo-French comencer, from Vulgar Latin *cominitiare, from Latin com- + Late Latin initiare to begin, from Latin, to initiate

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Statistics for commence

Last Updated

17 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for commence

The first known use of commence was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for commence



English Language Learners Definition of commence

formal : to begin


com·​mence | \ kə-ˈmens How to pronounce commence (audio) \
commenced; commencing

Kids Definition of commence

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More from Merriam-Webster on commence

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with commence

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for commence

Spanish Central: Translation of commence

Nglish: Translation of commence for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of commence for Arabic Speakers

Comments on commence

What made you want to look up commence? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to reflect, repel, echo, or resound

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