verb com·mence \kə-ˈmen(t)s\

Definition of commence




  1. transitive verb
  2. :  to enter upon :  begin commence proceedings

  3. intransitive verb
  4. 1 :  to have or make a beginning :  start

  5. 2 chiefly British :  to take a degree at a university



Examples of commence in a sentence

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. “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

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. The festivities will commence with a parade.

  7. Their contract commences in January.

  8. The court commenced criminal proceedings.

  9. The country has commenced preparations for war.

Origin and Etymology of commence

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

First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of 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

COMMENCE Defined for English Language Learners


verb com·mence \kə-ˈmen(t)s\

Definition of commence for English Language Learners

  • : to begin

COMMENCE Defined for Kids


verb com·mence \kə-ˈmens\

Definition of commence for Students




  1. :  begin 1, start

Seen and Heard

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feeling or affected by lethargy

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