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.

Primary Meanings of commencement

the act of starting something
an academic exercise in which diplomas are conferred
Full Definitions of commencement

n the act of starting something

beginning, start
finish, finishing
the act of finishing
(theology) God's act of bringing the universe into existence
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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
Type of:
change of state
the act of changing something into something different in essential characteristics

n the time at which something is supposed to begin

beginning, first, get-go, kickoff, offset, outset, showtime, start, starting time
time between the beginning and the end of a temporal period
end, ending
the point in time at which something ends
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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

n an academic exercise in which diplomas are conferred

commencement ceremony, commencement exercise, graduation, graduation exercise
Type of:
(usually plural) a ceremony that involves processions and speeches

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