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 This is routine the Thursday before on-ice activities commence at Centre Ice Arena. Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press, "As Red Wings begin camp, Steve Yzerman has guys 'really on their toes'," 12 Sep. 2019 The first race commences at 9:15 a.m. The public is welcome. Baltimore Sun Staff,, "Crofton golfer Kyle Berkshire wins World Long Drive Championship; Johns Hopkins wins football season opener," 6 Sep. 2019 Memorial Visitation will be held on Sunday, September 1, 2019 from 3:00pm to 7:00pm at the Thomas L. Nied Funeral Home, 7441 Washington Ave., Swissvale, PA 15218 where a prayer service will commence at 6:00 pm., "Deaths in South Florida: 8/31," 31 Aug. 2019 The real action though commences this weekend, as pre-season is ultimately about getting the whole squad fit and up to speed for when La Liga starts., "Celta de Vigo vs Real Madrid Preview: Where to Watch, Live Stream, Kick Off Time & Team News," 14 Aug. 2019 As the three-day Outside Lands festival commences Friday in Golden Gate Park, more than 200,000 people heading over are no doubt thinking of music, comedy and legal weed. Nanette Asimov,, "SF leaders note extra safety measures for Outside Lands," 8 Aug. 2019 That's where the target has been since December, when the Fed finished a cycle of nine rate hikes that commenced at the end of 2015. Larry Edelman,, "The Fed can only do so much to contain the damage from Trump’s trade war," 20 June 2019 Registration for the contest begins at noon, and judging will commence at 1 p.m. The celebration concludes with fireworks at dusk at Lake Vista Park, 4001 E. Lakeside Ave. Jennifer Whidden, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Here's everything you need to know for 4th of July in Milwaukee and the suburbs," 13 June 2019 The cornerback competition commences One of these spots has basically been decided. Mike Vorel, The Seattle Times, "Washington opens spring football this week. These are the top story lines to watch.," 1 Apr. 2019

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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Statistics for commence

Last Updated

27 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for commence

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

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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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Comments on commence

What made you want to look up commence? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to speed up the process or progress of

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