com·​mence·​ment | \ kə-ˈmen(t)s-mənt How to pronounce commencement (audio) \

Definition of commencement

1 : an act, instance, or time of commencing They awaited the commencement of the trial.
2a : the ceremonies or the day for conferring degrees or diplomas A Nobel Prize winner will speak at the commencement.
b : the period of activities at this time Commencement will kick off with a family reception followed by a banquet.

Examples of commencement in a Sentence

A poet will speak at the commencement. there was a large turnout at the commencement of the conference, but the numbers dwindled as it progressed
Recent Examples on the Web Swift will receive a Doctor of Fine Arts, honoris causa, and speak at NYU’s morning commencement event this morning at Yankee Stadium. Gil Kaufman, Billboard, 18 May 2022 When the inaugural class graduates in spring 2026, the Jesuit university wants a full-dress commencement within the prison. Nick Anderson, Washington Post, 18 May 2022 Whatever uncertainty attends a war’s commencement, each conflict ends with facts. Peter Schjeldahl, The New Yorker, 14 Mar. 2022 Brooklyn High School’s 113 graduates attended a June 6 commencement held at the Memorial Stadium. John Benson, cleveland, 10 June 2021 The pandemic has taken a toll on all aspects of campus life, and a virtual commencement that wasn’t up to the university’s standard of excellence only added to concerns, Harvey said. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 25 May 2021 The university is set to hold another round of three ceremonies on Sunday for graduates from the Class of 2020, which missed out on a traditional commencement last spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic., 23 May 2021 Students and their families who do not want to attend a group commencement can pick up the senior’s diploma between 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. the day before in the circle drive at the South Campus, at 4900 S. Willow Springs Road. Zareen Syed,, 11 May 2021 Southeast Arkansas College will conduct a virtual commencement at 7 p.m. May 14. Pine Bluff Commercial, Arkansas Online, 8 May 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'commencement.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of commencement

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for commencement

see commence

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Time Traveler for commencement

Time Traveler

The first known use of commencement was in the 13th century

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Statistics for commencement

Last Updated

7 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Commencement.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for commencement


com·​mence·​ment | \ kə-ˈmens-mənt How to pronounce commencement (audio) \

Kids Definition of commencement

1 : graduation exercises
2 : the act or the time of beginning We look forward to commencement of the school year.

More from Merriam-Webster on commencement

Nglish: Translation of commencement for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of commencement for Arabic Speakers


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