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[kuh-mens-muh nt] /kəˈmɛns mənt/
an act or instance of commencing; beginning:
the commencement of hostilities.
the ceremony of conferring degrees or granting diplomas at the end of the academic year.
the day on which this ceremony takes place.
1225-75; Middle English < Anglo-French, Old French. See commence, -ment
Related forms
noncommencement, noun
recommencement, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for commencement
  • Graduation from high school marks the commencement of the fourth stage of life, professional development.
  • Thank you for giving us this singular privilege of being part of this commencement ceremony.
  • Excerpts from some of this year's commencement addresses.
  • commencement season in academe inevitably brings controversy.
  • So too will be the commencement of real work to prepare for elections, first at a local level and later at national level.
  • There is a direct correlation between degenerative diseases and the commencement of grain farming.
  • He was also chosen to deliver a commencement address.
  • And in a surprising move, the power of calling for the contest's commencement was handed over to the surfers themselves.
  • Later, two letters appeared that included threats directed at the commencement.
  • Huntsman gave a commencement speech there yesterday.
British Dictionary definitions for commencement


the beginning; start
  1. (US & Canadian) a ceremony for the presentation of awards at secondary schools
  2. (US) a ceremony for the conferment of academic degrees
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
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Word Origin and History for commencement
mid-13c., from O.Fr. comencement (Mod.Fr. commencement), from comencier (see commence).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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