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Slang Dictionary: Commencement

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What Does "Commencement" Mean?

What Does “Commencement” Mean?

“Commencement,” often used informally as “graduation,” refers to the ceremony that marks the completion of an academic program, typically at a college or university. It is a celebratory event where students receive their diplomas or degrees, marking the beginning of their post-education journey.

Related Words

  • Graduation: A formal term used interchangeably with “commencement” to describe the completion of an academic program.
  • Convocation: Another term used for academic ceremonies, often associated with the assembly of students and faculty.

Where Does This Word Come From?

The term “commencement” has its roots in Latin. It comes from the word “cominitium,” which means “beginning” or “initiation.” In the context of academic ceremonies, it signifies the beginning of a graduate’s journey into the world beyond their educational institution.

Who Uses This Word?

“Commencement” is widely used in academic contexts, primarily by educational institutions, students, and their families. It is the official term for the graduation ceremony where degrees and diplomas are conferred.

Examples of Using This Word

  1. “I’m excited about attending my sister’s commencement ceremony next week.”
  2. “The commencement speaker delivered an inspiring address to the graduating class.”

What to Replace This Word in Academic Writing

In formal academic writing, especially in research papers or dissertations, it’s advisable to use “graduation ceremony” or “convocation” instead of “commencement” to ensure clarity and maintain a formal tone.

Quote of the Day

“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” – William Butler Yeats

(Reflecting the significance of commencement as the start of an individual’s lifelong learning journey)


Understanding the slang term “commencement” is essential, especially for students approaching the culmination of their academic journey. This celebratory event marks the beginning of new adventures and opportunities, symbolizing the knowledge and skills acquired during one’s educational experience. As you attend or participate in a commencement ceremony, remember that it’s not just an end but the start of an exciting future.