Definition of commencement in English:

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Pronunciation: /kəˈmensmənt/


1 [usually in singular] A beginning or start: at the commencement of training
More example sentences
  • Mr Bradley also refused to be drawn on a deadline for the commencement or a finishing date for the road.
  • That date has two significances, but, critically, it is the date of the commencement of the new preference regime.
  • They both urged their members to remain calm as they waited for management to set dates for the commencement of negotiations.
2North American A ceremony in which degrees or diplomas are conferred on graduating students: [as modifier]: a commencement address
More example sentences
  • They captured him speaking at the commencement ceremony at Harvard University.
  • Asian University hosted its annual commencement ceremony last week.
  • I had the honor of addressing a commencement class today at Harvard University Law School.


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

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: com·mence·ment

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