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 free-agent signing period will commence at 12:01 a.m. on Nov. 22. Ira Winderman,, "Heat on the clock as NBA sets Dec. 22 start of season, Nov. 20 start of free agency," 10 Nov. 2020 Free agency will commence within a few days of that. Eric Walden, The Salt Lake Tribune, "NBA players agree to a Dec. 22 start, which means Utah Jazz will be in camp by Dec. 1," 6 Nov. 2020 In the future, families will be confronting whether their children should participate in football — and, if yes, at what age the participation should commence. Steve Weinberg, Star Tribune, "Review: 'Love, Zac,' by Reid Forgrave," 4 Sep. 2020 Operation Olympic was to commence on Kyushu Nov. 1, 1945, followed in March 1946 by Operation Coronet on Honshu. William Lloyd Stearman, WSJ, "I Owe My Life to the A-Bomb," 27 Oct. 2020 The company, based in Oakland, California, submitted a draft registration statement to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and the IPO will commence after regulator’s review process, the firm said in a statement on Wednesday. Jordyn Holman,, "Online Thrift Shop ThredUp Files Confidentially for U.S. IPO," 21 Oct. 2020 But before the Dom and John cuteness can commence, Jayson gestures for Dom to leave class. Lydia Wang,, "R29 Binge Club: Netflix’s Grand Army Recaps," 19 Oct. 2020 Construction of the new refining capacity is expected to commence in the second half next year and be completed in 2023. Anthony Mcauley | Staff Writer,, "Renewable Energy Group plans major Geismar plant expansion, boosting volume fourfold and nearly doubling workforce," 6 Oct. 2020 Governors in both states have indicated that USC, UCLA, California, Stanford, Oregon and Oregon State can commence workouts, but each school is also subject to local county and city restrictions that must still be negotiated. The Salt Lake Tribune, "Report: Pac-12 football season could begin on Oct. 31," 18 Sep. 2020

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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Time Traveler for commence

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for commence

Last Updated

22 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Commence.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Nov. 2020.

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More Definitions for commence


How to pronounce commence (audio)

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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