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 Brady-to-Buccaneers deal can become official Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET when the new league year commences. Editors, USA TODAY, "Coronavirus crisis, NFL free agency, SpaceX launch: 5 things to know Wednesday," 18 Mar. 2020 That guidance was included in a notice released by the department Sunday as new travel restrictions officially go into effect for flights that commenced after 5 p.m. EDT Sunday. Donald G. Mcneil Jr.,, "Wuhan coronavirus looks increasingly like a pandemic, experts say," 2 Feb. 2020 Bignamini’s six-year contract will begin with the 2020-2021 DSO season that commences later this year. Brian Mccollum, Detroit Free Press, "A new Detroit maestro: DSO names young Italian conductor Jader Bignamini as music director," 22 Jan. 2020 The contract was signed the next day and the planning with DKG commenced soon after. Georgann Yara, azcentral, "Central Tempe home near ASU with indoor garden and rooftop pool is LEED Platinum certified. Take a look," 26 Dec. 2019 There was a ceremonial start Saturday in Anchorage, but the real, grueling race commences Sunday around 2 p.m. local time. Tim O'donnell, TheWeek, "March 8, 2020," 8 Mar. 2020 The billionaire is then accused of commencing a campaign of intimidation, prompting her to flee. Fox News, "British judge determines Dubai ruler abducted two daughters, intimidated and threatened ex-wife," 7 Mar. 2020 When the third quarter commenced, any ideas of a Falcon comeback were quickly extinguished. Ted Dunnam, Houston Chronicle, "Boys’ basketball: Atascocita uses 20-0 run to take down Clear Lake," 29 Feb. 2020 The filing comes after Cosi commenced a restructuring of its operations by closing 30 of its stores in December and increased its emphasis on catering, according to a company statement. Allison Mcneely, Fortune, "More consumers ordering food to go, a challenge for fast casual brands like Cosi," 24 Feb. 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

30 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Commence.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Apr. 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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