com·mence | \kə-ˈmen(t)s \
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

At least seven of the 11 Russian cities hosting World Cup matches has ordered street dogs to be killed off before Russia and Saudi Arabia spar off to officially commence this year’s tournament on June 14, animal-rights activists told Fox News. Madeline Farber, Fox News, "World Cup 2018 host cities in Russia allegedly killing off stray dogs ahead of tournament," 13 June 2018 Yet when the 2007 high school soccer season commenced, Jones-Duffey was listed on Reagan’s varsity roster. Terrence Thomas, San Antonio Express-News, "Whitlock’s departure leaves legacy of family," 26 June 2018 The new five-year agreement commences on October 4, 2019 and will give Fox two hours of live event programming 52 weeks each year. Marisa Guthrie, The Hollywood Reporter, "Fox and WWE Close Five-Year Deal to Bring 'SmackDown' to Network," 26 June 2018 The location was still up in the air even after shooting commenced. Jared Cowan, Los Angeles Magazine, "Every L.A. Filming Location From Grease, 40 Years Later," 15 June 2018 While bidding wars on vacation packages and one-on-one skating lessons with Rippon commenced, guests enjoyed dinner and conversation that celebrated activism within the LGBTQ community. Katarina Kovac, Vogue, "Rita Ora Empowers With a Performance at the 2018 TrevorLive Gala," 12 June 2018 But before the serious talks commenced, Kim decided to go sightseeing. Madeleine Ngo, Vox, "Kim Jong Un went sightseeing in Singapore hours before Tuesday’s historic summit," 11 June 2018 When the meeting commenced, All-West Coast Conference forward Isaiah Pineiro headed to Scholl’s office for a one-on-one. Don Norcross,, "Pineiro, other USD players excited by Scholl's promotion," 3 Apr. 2018 Ike Clanton and Billy Claiborne fled as soon as the fight commenced. Roger Naylor, azcentral, "Tombstone, AZ: How the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral cemented its place in history," 22 Mar. 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

13 Oct 2018

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

: to begin


com·mence | \kə-ˈmens \
commenced; commencing

Kids Definition of commence

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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).


one that holds something together

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