Inauguration Day

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the day on which the president of the United States is inaugurated, being January 20 of every year following a year whose number is divisible by four. Prior to the Twentieth Amendment to the Constitution (ratified February 6, 1933), it was March 4.
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What is Inauguration Day?

Inauguration Day is the day that the U.S. president is inaugurated—officially inducted into office. Inauguration Day marks the official beginning of the president’s term.

Since 1937, Inauguration Day has always been held on January 20 (or January 21, if January 20 falls on a Sunday). The inauguration ceremony has traditionally been held at the U.S. Capitol building.

Inauguration Day marks the day that the outgoing president transfers power to a new president or when the recently reelected president begins their second term.

Inauguration Day involves the president-elect being officially sworn in as president by taking the oath of office required by Article II, Section I of the Constitution: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

(The very similar oath taken by the vice president-elect was drafted by Congress—it’s not spelled out in the Constitution).

Example: During her inaugural address on Inauguration Day, the president-elect will lay out her plans for her first 100 days in office. 

Where does Inauguration Day come from?

The first Inauguration Day occurred on April 30, 1789, when George Washington became the first president of the United States. The date of Inauguration Day was later set as March 4. In 1933, the 20th Amendment changed the date to January 20. This was done in order to shorten the time that an outgoing president (one not serving another term) would continue to hold office as a “lame duck.”

Since 1901, the planning and organization of the events of Inauguration Day have been the responsibility of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies (JCCIC), which is composed of sitting members of Congress. Along with the swearing in of the president and vice president and the president’s inaugural address, Inauguration Day traditionally involves several other ceremonial events, such as a luncheon and the first official actions by the president, among other things.

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How is Inauguration Day used in real life?

Inauguration Day is associated with the pageantry and ceremoniousness involved with the swearing in of a new president.


Try using Inauguration Day!

True or False? 

A newly elected president’s term begins when the results of the election are certified, and Inauguration Day is only held for ceremonial purposes.

How to use Inauguration Day in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for Inauguration Day

Inauguration Day

the day on which the inauguration of a president of the US takes place, Jan 20
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