Synonyms & Antonyms of begin

1 to take the first step in (a process or course of action)
  • she began walking to work for exercise

Synonyms for begin

Words Related to begin

Phrases Synonymous with begin

Near Antonyms for begin

Antonyms for begin

2 to come into existence
  • the storm began late in the day and lasted all night

Synonyms for begin

Words Related to begin

Near Antonyms for begin

Antonyms for begin

3 to be responsible for the creation and early operation or use of
  • the religious sect was begun by a small breakaway faction

Synonyms for begin

Words Related to begin

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Antonyms for begin

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Frequently Asked Questions About begin

How is the word begin different from other verbs like it?

Some common synonyms of begin are commence, inaugurate, initiate, start, and usher in. While all these words mean "to take the first step in a course, process, or operation," begin, start, and commence are often interchangeable, with begin, opposed to end, being the most general.

begin a trip

began dancing

How is commence related to other words for begin?

Commence can be more formal or bookish than begin or start.

commence firing

commenced a conversation

When could inaugurate be used to replace begin?

The words inaugurate and begin are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, inaugurate suggests a beginning of some formality or notion of significance.

the discovery of penicillin inaugurated a new era in medicine

When would initiate be a good substitute for begin?

While the synonyms initiate and begin are close in meaning, initiate implies taking a first step in a process or series that is to continue.

initiated diplomatic contacts

Where would start be a reasonable alternative to begin?

The synonyms start and begin are sometimes interchangeable, but start, opposed to stop, applies especially to first actions, steps, or stages.

the work started slowly

How are the words usher in and inaugurate related as synonyms of begin?

Usher in is somewhat less weighty than inaugurate.

ushered in a period of economic decline

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Time Traveler for begin

Time Traveler

The first known use of begin was before the 12th century

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Thesaurus Entries Near begin

begging off



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Cite this Entry

“Begin.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Oct. 2021.

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More from Merriam-Webster on begin

Nglish: Translation of begin for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of begin for Arabic Speakers


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