• IPA: /kəˈmɛns/

commence (commences, present participle commencing; past and past participle commenced)

  1. (intransitive) To begin, start.
    • 1601, William Shakespeare, The Phoenix and the Turtle,
      Here the anthem doth commence:
    • 1770, Oliver Goldsmith, “The Deserted Village” in The Miscellaneous Works of Oliver Goldsmith, London: W. Griffin, 1775, p. 164,
      His heaven commences ere the world be past!
    • 1851, Herman Melville, Moby-Dick, Chapter 4,
      He commenced dressing at top by donning his beaver hat, a very tall one, by the by, and then—still minus his trowsers—he hunted up his boots.
  2. (transitive) To begin to be, or to act as.
    • 1743, Robert Drury (sailor), The Pleasant, and Surprizing Adventures of Mr. Robert Drury, during his Fifteen Years Captivity on the Island of Madagascar, London, p. 126,
      […] he furnish’d me with a Gun, Cartouch-box, and Powder-horn, &c. and thus accouter’d I commenc’d Soldier.
    • 1825, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Aids to Reflection in the Formation of a Manly Character, London: Taylor & Hessey, Prudential Aphorisms, Aphorism 15, p. 48,
      When we are wearied of the trouble of prosecuting crimes at the bar, we commence judges ourselves […]
  3. (UK, intransitive, dated) To take a degree at a university.
    • 1655, Thomas Fuller, The Church-History of Britain, London: John Williams, The Seventh Century, p. 75,
      […] I question whether the Formality of Commencing was used in that Age: inclining rather to the negative, that such Distinction of Graduates was then unknown […]
    • 1861, George John Gray, Athenae Cantabrigienses: 1586-1609 (page 272)
      […] was admitted a minor fellow of his college 4 Oct. 1591, a major fellow 11 March 1591-2, and commenced M.A. in 1592.
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