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 Then a call came over the radio announcing a robbery had just happened, and a high-speed chase commenced. Mario Ariza,, "Armed robber made his getaway each time in his mom’s car," 4 Nov. 2019 History will teach us that … of those men who have overturned the liberties of republics, the greatest number have begun their career by paying an obsequious court to the people; commencing demagogues, and ending tyrants. Ron Chernow, Twin Cities, "Ron Chernow: Hamilton pushed for a powerful president — and for impeachment powers," 21 Oct. 2019 Nobody wore a mask or appeared to be going at half speed once drills commenced. Los Angeles Times, "The Sports Report: Trojans come up short against Notre Dame," 13 Oct. 2019 The Padres players quickly walked across Chase Field’s artificial turf, up a tunnel into the visitor’s clubhouse and commenced getting on with what is next. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Padres walked off at end of another losing season, expecting changes and better days," 29 Sep. 2019 The Aoki Games were hosted by Aoki and commenced by Las Vegas Golden Knights Announcer Mark Shunock. Kat Bein, Billboard, "Steve Aoki Raises $250K For Brain Research With Aoki Games in Las Vegas," 25 Sep. 2019 Nonetheless, some companies have already planned or commenced exploratory drilling in the region. Chelsea Harvey, Scientific American, "What Greenland Might Have Taught Trump about Warming," 19 Aug. 2019 The coverage, which wasn't limited to the Mirror, was the result of a few seconds of video footage published on Manchester United's official Twitter account following the squad's arrival in Australia for the club's now commenced summer tour., "Extended Video Clip Debunks Alleged 'Bust-Up' Between Paul Pogba & Jesse Lingard," 9 July 2019 Wright had shoulder surgery in December but is expected to be ready to go when fall camp commences. Michelle Gardner, azcentral, "ASU football scouting report: Defensive line depth not a concern," 11 Mar. 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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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

8 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Commence.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 12 December 2019.

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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).


a period of high artistic development

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