Synonym Chooser

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

Some common synonyms of commence are begin, inaugurate, initiate, start, and usher in. While all these words mean "to take the first step in a course, process, or operation," commence can be more formal or bookish than begin or start.

commence firing
commenced a conversation

How does the word begin relate to other synonyms for commence?

Begin, start, and commence are often interchangeable, with begin, opposed to end, being the most general.

begin a trip
began dancing

Where would inaugurate be a reasonable alternative to commence?

The words inaugurate and commence 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 is initiate a more appropriate choice than commence?

In some situations, the words initiate and commence are roughly equivalent. However, initiate implies taking a first step in a process or series that is to continue.

initiated diplomatic contacts

When could start be used to replace commence?

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

the work started slowly

How do usher in and inaugurate relate to one another, in the sense of commence?

Usher in is somewhat less weighty than inaugurate.

ushered in a period of economic decline

Thesaurus Entries Near commence

Cite this Entry

“Commence.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 Jan. 2023.

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