We usually say,

Windows 10 has been launched.

Why can't we say,

Windows 10 has been inaugurated.

Question 1: If we can, then why are there two different words for exactly the same thing. In other words why do exact synonyms exist?

Question 2: If we can't then what is the difference between inaugurated and launched? In which situation do we use inaugurated rather than launched. As user Random explained in his/her comments(1,2) sometimes inaugurated is used to imply that the thing being inaugurated has been tested first and then given for use. If possible please provide reference for this meaning. Also what kind of things are considered importantant so that they get inaugurated e.g. does a private hospital, private company, private shop, private mall/govt. mall, new version of Mercedes or some movement started by people or other things which are at the median of being governmental/political and private.

My Research effort: I looked in merriam webster dictionary and google translator but could not find the answer to my question.

  • it is not exactly the same thing. inaugurated points the fact someone first used it, and he says "It's ok, you can do it now, as I did", whereas "launched" just says "it is now available". The result is the same, everyone can use Windows 10, but it has not been done the same way.
    – Random
    Commented Jul 30, 2015 at 13:43
  • @Random Could you give me some reference for it. Google says inaugurate = to begin or introduce something. Google doesn't say that the thing has been tested first.
    – user31782
    Commented Jul 30, 2015 at 13:47
  • 3
    Presidents get inaugurated; operating systems get launched. Two words are rarely interchangeable across all contexts, even when their definitions are very similar.
    – J.R.
    Commented Jul 30, 2015 at 13:48
  • @J.R. What should I say. "The new hospital in our city has been launched/inaugurated?"
    – user31782
    Commented Jul 30, 2015 at 13:50
  • @user31782 inaugurated.... you definitely inaugurate a building... Whereas you launch a product on the market...
    – Random
    Commented Jul 30, 2015 at 13:53

2 Answers 2


"To inaugurate" is fairly archaic in American English. We say people get inaugurated in political office, or to inaugurate a new policy. I couldn't tell you exactly what the difference is, but I can't remember the last time I heard someone use the word for anything but a new president.

To say something "launched" implies movement, and a certain element of risk. Its usage is metaphoric, as literally speaking only vessels launch. When you "launch" a new software, you are taking it from its safe harbor (the development team) and putting it out into the dangerous seas (the general public). It used to imply adventure and risk, but is now sufficiently commonplace that people don't normally think of it that way. "Released" is a more neutral word for the same thing.


In business journalism, "inaugurated" is mostly used to announce the startup of a service rather than the release [into the distribution channels] of a product:

Pierce & Crump PLC announce the inauguration of their two-way hydroplane service that will ferry passengers across the Thames at only £5.- a time. Tickets may be purchased at their docks, adjacent to Tower Bridge.

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