• synonyms


[kuh-mens-muh nt]
See more synonyms for commencement on Thesaurus.com
  1. an act or instance of commencing; beginning: the commencement of hostilities.
  2. the ceremony of conferring degrees or granting diplomas at the end of the academic year.
  3. the day on which this ceremony takes place.
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Origin of commencement

1225–75; Middle English < Anglo-French, Old French. See commence, -ment
Related formsnon·com·mence·ment, nounre·com·mence·ment, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for recommencement

Historical Examples

  • But at the music's recommencement he turned directly to her.

    The Innocent Adventuress

    Mary Hastings Bradley

  • The life of humanity, history, are but an interminable "recommencement of things."

    The Dead Command

    Vicente Blasco Ibez

  • More raps with the stick, more scolding, and a recommencement.

  • Nowhere is there the slightest evidence of pause or of recommencement.

  • Would she have anything to do with the settling which must precede his recommencement of existence?

    Sir Tom

    Mrs. Oliphant

British Dictionary definitions for recommencement


  1. the beginning; start
    1. US and Canadiana ceremony for the presentation of awards at secondary schools
    2. USa ceremony for the conferment of academic degrees
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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 recommencement



late 13c., "beginning," from Old French comencement "beginning, start" (Modern French commencement), from comencier (see commence). Meaning "school graduation ceremony" attested by 1850, American English. (Sense "entrance upon the privileges of a master or doctor in a university" is from late 14c.)

I know what you are thinking of -- the class members grouped in a semicircle on the stage, the three scared boys in new ready-made black suits, the seventeen pretty girls in fluffy white dresses (the gowns of the year), each senior holding a ribbon-tied manuscript bulging with thoughts on "Beyond the Alps Lies Italy," "Our Ship is Launched -- Whither Shall it Sail?" and similar topics. [Charles Moreau Harger, "The Real Commencement," "New Outlook," May 8, 1909]
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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper