A commencement is the act of starting out, or blazing a new trail.

The suffix -ment makes the word commencement a noun — a thing, an activity, a start. The word can be used for the beginning of anything, from a business meeting to a vacation trip to a marriage. Anything that begins has a moment of commencement. That's why a graduation ceremony is called a commencement — a graduate is embarking on a new life, and the commencement ritual marks the official beginning of that life.

Definitions of commencement
  1. noun
    the act of starting something
    synonyms: beginning, start
    see moresee less
    finish, finishing
    the act of finishing
    (theology) God's act of bringing the universe into existence
    show 33 types...
    hide 33 types...
    jumping-off point, point of departure, springboard
    a beginning from which an enterprise is launched
    making active and effective (as a bomb)
    attack, tone-beginning
    a decisive manner of beginning a musical tone or phrase
    constitution, establishment, formation, organisation, organization
    the act of forming or establishing something
    debut, entry, first appearance, introduction, launching, unveiling
    the act of beginning something new
    (ice hockey) the method of starting play; a referee drops the puck between two opposing players
    first step, initiative, opening, opening move
    the first of a series of actions
    groundbreaking, groundbreaking ceremony
    the ceremonial breaking of the ground to formally begin a construction project
    housing start
    the act of starting to construct a house
    a beginning that relaxes a tense or formal atmosphere
    inauguration, startup
    the act of starting a new operation or practice
    creation, foundation, founding, initiation, innovation, instauration, institution, introduction, origination
    the act of starting something for the first time; introducing something new
    installation, installing, installment, instalment
    the act of installing something (as equipment)
    jump ball
    (basketball) the way play begins or resumes when possession is disputed; an official tosses the ball up between two players who jump in an effort to tap it to a teammate
    (football) a kick from the center of the field to start a football game or to resume it after a score
    recommencement, resumption
    beginning again
    scrum, scrummage
    (rugby) the method of beginning play in which the forwards of each team crouch side by side with locked arms; play starts when the ball is thrown in between them and the two sides compete for possession
    the act of setting in operation
    the act of bringing about something (especially at an early time)
    product introduction
    the introduction (usually by an advertising campaign) of a new product or product line
    authorship, paternity
    the act of initiating a new idea or theory or writing
    unionisation, unionization
    act of forming labor unions
    ushering in
    the introduction of something new
    curtain raiser
    any preliminary activity
    first base
    the initial stage in accomplishing something
    peace initiative
    opening move in negotiating a peace treaty
    tap-off, tip-off
    the act of starting a basketball game with a jump ball
    naturalisation, naturalization
    the introduction of animals or plants to places where they flourish but are not indigenous
    collectivisation, collectivization
    the organization of a nation or economy on the basis of collectivism
    communisation, communization
    the organization of a nation of the basis of communism
    the act of constituting a political unity out of a number of separate states or colonies or provinces so that each member retains the management of its internal affairs
    colonisation, colonization, settlement
    the act of colonizing; the establishment of colonies
    the act or process of establishing a city or organization as a legal entity
    type of:
    change of state
    the act of changing something into something different in essential characteristics
  2. noun
    the time at which something is supposed to begin
    synonyms: beginning, first, get-go, kickoff, offset, outset, showtime, start, starting time
    see moresee less
    time between the beginning and the end of a temporal period
    end, ending
    the point in time at which something ends
    show more antonyms...
    show 5 types...
    hide 5 types...
    the time when something begins (especially life)
    incipience, incipiency
    beginning to exist or to be apparent
    starting point, terminus a quo
    earliest limiting point
    the starting point for a new state or experience
    birth of a person
    type of:
    point, point in time
    an instant of time
  3. noun
    an academic exercise in which diplomas are conferred
    synonyms: commencement ceremony, commencement exercise, graduation, graduation exercise
    see moresee less
    type of:
    (usually plural) a ceremony that involves processions and speeches
Word Family

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week