[ in-aw-gyuh-reyt, -guh- ]
/ ɪnˈɔ gyəˌreɪt, -gə- /
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See synonyms for: inaugurate / inaugurated on Thesaurus.com

verb (used with object), in·au·gu·rat·ed, in·au·gu·rat·ing.

to make a formal beginning of; initiate; commence; begin: The end of World War II inaugurated the era of nuclear power.
to induct into office with formal ceremonies; install.
to introduce into public use by some formal ceremony: Airmail service between Washington, D.C., and New York City was inaugurated in 1918.



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Origin of inaugurate

First recorded in 1595–1605; from Latin inaugurātus, past participle of inaugurāre “to consecrate by augury (a person chosen for priesthood or other office),” literally, “to take auguries”); see in-2, augur1, -ate1


Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021


What does inaugurate mean?

Inaugurate most generally means to formally or officially take action to begin something. Close synonyms are the verbs initiate and commence.

More specifically, inaugurate means to officially induct someone into a position with a formal ceremony. A close synonym of this sense of the word is install.

The noun inauguration refers to the process of inaugurating or a ceremony in which a person or thing is inaugurated. Things involving or related to inauguration can be described with the adjective inaugural.

U.S. presidents are inaugurated—officially inducted into office and sworn in—on Inauguration Day, on which they usually give their inaugural address (speech).

Inaugurate can also mean to introduce something into use with a formal ceremony. A new factory or public building might be inaugurated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony or a dedication ceremony, for example.

In every sense of the word, inaugurate implies at least some formality.

Its general sense—meaning to initiate or commence—is typically used in the context of events considered important, such as historical eras, as in The rise of the empire inaugurated a period of renewed warfare. 

Example: In the U.S., presidents are elected in November, but their terms don’t officially begin until they are inaugurated in January.

Where does inaugurate come from?

The first records of the word inaugurate come from right around 1600. It comes from the Latin inaugurātus, from the verb inaugurāre, meaning “to consecrate by augury.” In ancient Rome, an augury was the rite or ceremony held by an augur—a kind of soothsayer or priest whose job was to interpret omens to guide decisions. In Ancient Rome, the augurs were consulted before lawmakers officially took a position.

In the U.S., the president is inaugurated on January 20 following a presidential election (or January 21 if January 20 falls on a Sunday). This date is set by the 20th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the first president inaugurated on this day when he began his second term in 1937. Other elected officials, such as governors, are also inaugurated to start their terms, but the inauguration of the president is the most well-known, likely due to the importance of the office and the grand nature of the ceremony.

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How is inaugurate used in real life?

Inaugurate is most commonly used in the context of formal ceremonies. In the U.S., the word is closely associated with the official induction of a new president.



Try using inaugurate!

True or False?

To inaugurate a politician is to remove them from office.

Example sentences from the Web for inaugurate

British Dictionary definitions for inaugurate

/ (ɪnˈɔːɡjʊˌreɪt) /

verb (tr)

to commence officially or formally; initiate
to place in office formally and ceremonially; induct
to open ceremonially; dedicate formallyto inaugurate a factory

Derived forms of inaugurate

inauguration, nouninaugurator, nouninauguratory (ɪnˈɔːɡjʊrətərɪ, -trɪ), adjective

Word Origin for inaugurate

C17: from Latin inaugurāre, literally: to take omens, practise augury, hence to install in office after taking auguries; see in- ², augur
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