begin, commence

These words are alike in meaning "to start," "to originate," "to cause to come into being": "Come on, let's begin the meeting." "When will the fireworks display commence?" Commence is stronger in its suggestion of initiative, of action originated by some person or force; it is also a more formal word than begin: "The prosecuting attorney will commence proceedings in the trial." In normal speech and writing, prefer the shorter, less formal begin.

Dictionary of problem words and expressions. . 1975.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • start - begin - commence — If you start, begin, or commence something, you do it from a particular time. My father started work when he was ten. The prisoners plan to begin a hunger strike today. I …   Useful english dictionary

  • begin — begin, commence, start, initiate, inaugurate are comparable when they mean to set something going or in progress or to take the first step in a course, process, or operation. Begin, commence, and start are also used intransitively with the… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • begin — verb (began; begun; beginning) Etymology: Middle English beginnen, from Old English beginnan; akin to Old High German biginnan to begin, Old English onginnan Date: before 12th century intransitive verb 1. to do the first part of an action …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • begin — /bi gin /, v., began, begun, beginning. v.i. 1. to proceed to perform the first or earliest part of some action; commence; start: The story begins with their marriage. 2. to come into existence; arise; originate: The custom began during the Civil …   Universalium

  • begin — be•gin [[t]bɪˈgɪn[/t]] v. be•gan, be•gun, be•gin•ning. 1) to proceed to perform the first or earliest part of an action; start 2) to come into existence; arise; originate: The custom began during the war[/ex] 3) to have a first part: The name… …   From formal English to slang

  • commence — verb (commenced; commencing) Etymology: Middle English comencen, from Anglo French comencer, from Vulgar Latin *cominitiare, from Latin com + Late Latin initiare to begin, from Latin, to initiate Date: 14th century transitive verb to enter upon ; …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • commence — See begin. See begin, commence …   Dictionary of problem words and expressions

  • begin — See begin, commence …   Dictionary of problem words and expressions

  • begin — commence, begin, start 1. Commence is a more formal Latinate word for begin or start. Fowler s advice (1926) was to use begin and its derivatives except when these seem incongruous (which is in fact rare); occasions when commence is more… …   Modern English usage

  • commence — commence, begin, start 1. Commence is a more formal Latinate word for begin or start. Fowler s advice (1926) was to use begin and its derivatives except when these seem incongruous (which is in fact rare); occasions when commence is more… …   Modern English usage

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