Definition of commencement in English:



  • 1The beginning of something.

    ‘the commencement of the trial’
    [mass noun] ‘the date of commencement’
    • ‘March this year saw the second trial phase and the commencement of full production.’
    • ‘That date has two significances, but, critically, it is the date of the commencement of the new preference regime.’
    • ‘The temple has a record of these jewels, which are taken out of the safe a few days prior to the commencement of the festival.’
    • ‘A date in September has yet to be confirmed for the commencement of services for in-patients.’
    • ‘One of the keys to avoiding construction pitfalls is to obtain all permits before the commencement of work.’
    • ‘The date of commencement will be confirmed once people have indicated an interest in taking part.’
    • ‘Mr Bradley also refused to be drawn on a deadline for the commencement or a finishing date for the road.’
    • ‘She sat there for a while, in total silence, awaiting the commencement of the boy's game.’
    • ‘At the commencement of the trial, the parties had settled the child custody and access issues.’
    • ‘The year also saw the commencement of a major property development programme throughout the region.’
    • ‘They were presently waiting for the commencement of work on the extension to the kitchen.’
    • ‘They both urged their members to remain calm as they waited for management to set dates for the commencement of negotiations.’
    • ‘The book takes the form of a diary or journal, complete with dates at the commencement of alternate short chapters.’
    • ‘This appeal turns upon the trial Judge's decision to admit that document in evidence as part of the Crowns case at the very commencement of the trial.’
    • ‘The project is scheduled for completion in five years from the date of commencement of work.’
    • ‘At the commencement of the next song, the girl turns around to face her partner.’
    • ‘Sources said money was not a problem for the commencement of the project.’
    • ‘Please note that you must have written permission from your parents before commencement of training.’
    • ‘Participants signed a research consent form before commencement of the session.’
    • ‘It was lit before the commencement of the meeting and burned throughout.’
    beginning, start, starting point, opening, outset, onset, launch, initiation, inception, birth, dawn, origin
    day one
    View synonyms
  • 2North American A ceremony in which degrees or diplomas are conferred on university or high-school students.

    [as modifier] ‘a commencement address’
    • ‘It used to be statesmen and academics who delivered commencement speeches.’
    • ‘Then, in great precession we walked out to the field for commencement accompanied by bagpipes.’
    • ‘The scene during commencement, however, defied portrayals of a divided campus.’
    • ‘For example, commencements of overseas students in Australian universities in IT courses increased.’
    • ‘We do an enormous number of commencements and summer festivals - the Philadelphia Folk Festival and Newport Folk, Newport Jazz.’
    • ‘Isn't that also in the ‘tradition’ of college commencements?’
    • ‘I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world.’
    • ‘I had the honor of addressing a commencement class today at Harvard University Law School.’
    • ‘I guess the nuns must have asked for a beautiful day for our commencement.’
    • ‘The friend had been given an honorary degree at her commencement.’
    • ‘The honorary degree will be conferred during commencement weekend this May.’
    • ‘Slowly but surely, the year wound down to the inevitable graduation and commencement.’
    • ‘After commencement, Nolan sought out her and her family so he could congratulate her.’
    • ‘Asian University hosted its annual commencement ceremony last week.’
    • ‘The two would get together at each commencement to compare their graduate tallies.’
    • ‘For various reasons, not all graduates can or do attend their commencement ceremony.’
    • ‘In a recent commencement address, she gave graduates a few keys to being a well-rounded person.’
    • ‘They captured him speaking at the commencement ceremony at Harvard University.’
    • ‘He must have advisers who can tell him that we use commencements to bring out the best in young people.’
    • ‘When we heard those stirring speeches at last spring's commencements, we left with optimistic determination that this was going to be our year.’


Middle English: from Old French, from the verb commencier (see commence).