- Date: 1606
- 1 : to induct into an office with suitable ceremonies
- 2 a : to dedicate ceremoniously : observe formally the beginning of <inaugurate a new school>
- b : to bring about the beginning of
The most common usage of the term is in the context of a formal investiture whereby an individual assumes an office or position of authority or power. The term is usually used in reference to a politician's assumption of the duties of head of state or head of government (e.g. the President's inauguration). An "inaugural address" is the presidential speech given at this ceremony which informs the people of his intentions as a leader.
Political inaugurations often feature lavish ceremonies, in which the politician publicly takes his or her oath of office in front of a large crowd of spectators. The equivalent ceremony in another jurisdiction may be called a "swearing-in". A monarchical inauguration is similar to what in another jurisdiction may be called a coronation or enthronement.