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 Star Vin Diesel previously revealed to EW that filming would commence in January 2022, with there seeming to be a possibility of Fast 10 and 11 being filmed back-to-back to wrap up the billion-dollar series. Derek Lawrence,, 17 Aug. 2021 Brooks joined Xavier's staff earlier this month right as the recruiting dead period, caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, was lifted and communication was allowed to commence with the 2023 class. Adam Baum, The Enquirer, 29 June 2021 In February, the automaker announced that deliveries, which had already been delayed, would commence in mid-2021. Bryan Hood, Robb Report, 23 June 2021 Prepare to brew some coffee, because the 2021 Olympics will commence with opening ceremonies Friday morning. Claire Rafford, The Indianapolis Star, 22 July 2021 An Alabama transportation official agrees that the most recent truck data for Interstate 10 is outdated, and said that further studies would commence if local politicians in Mobile and Baldwin counties support the bridge concept. al, 26 Mar. 2021 The lease ends in ’26, discussions on a new one will commence a couple years before that. Paul Daugherty, The Enquirer, 12 Aug. 2021 The equestrian events will commence in the park of the Palace of Versailles. Naledi Ushe,, 11 Aug. 2021 Quiet, mostly private rejoicing will commence across the NBA at 11 a.m. Friday when free agents are permitted to sign their contracts and some of the league’s biggest stars can sign their mega-dollar contract extensions. Dallas News, 6 Aug. 2021

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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Last Updated

11 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Commence.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for commence



English Language Learners Definition of commence

: to begin


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

Kids Definition of commence

More from Merriam-Webster on commence

Nglish: Translation of commence for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of commence for Arabic Speakers


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