verb (used with or without object), com·menced, com·menc·ing.

to begin; start.

Origin of commence

1250–1300; Middle English commencen < Anglo-French, Middle French comencer < Vulgar Latin *cominitiāre, equivalent to Latin com- com- + initiāre to begin; see initiate
Related formscom·mence·a·ble, adjectivecom·menc·er, nounre·com·mence, verb, re·com·menced, re·com·menc·ing.un·com·menced, adjectivewell-com·menced, adjective

Synonyms for commence

Synonym study

See begin. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for commences

initiate, begin, inaugurate, launch, originate, open, arise

Examples from the Web for commences

Contemporary Examples of commences

Historical Examples of commences

  • Instead of that he points at Phinney and commences to laugh.

    The Depot Master

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • Texas, feelin' like the common eye is on him, commences to grow restless.

    Faro Nell and Her Friends

    Alfred Henry Lewis

  • Their year commences with the month of Farvardin, and ends with the month of Spendarmad.

    Les Parsis

    D. Menant

  • Let us take the case of the youth or man who commences the study of a foreign language.

  • Evelyn shies at that, and commences to hand Jarvis the frappéd smile.

    Shorty McCabe

    Sewell Ford

British Dictionary definitions for commences



to start or begin; come or cause to come into being, operation, etc
Derived Formscommencer, noun

Word Origin for commence

C14: from Old French comencer, from Vulgar Latin cominitiāre (unattested), from Latin com- (intensive) + initiāre to begin, from initium a beginning
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for commences



c.1300, from Old French comencier "to begin, start" (10c., Modern French commencer), from Vulgar Latin *cominitiare, originally "to initiate as priest, consecrate," from Latin com- "together" (see com-) + initiare "to initiate," from initium (see initial (adj.)). Spelling with double -m- began in French and was established in English by 1500. Related: Commenced; commencing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper