Try Our Apps
Dictionary.com

follow Dictionary.com

What is the origin of "February"?

onset

[on-set, awn-] /ˈɒnˌsɛt, ˈɔn-/
noun
1.
a beginning or start:
the onset of winter.
2.
an assault or attack:
an onset of the enemy.
3.
Phonetics. the segment of a syllable preceding the nucleus, as the gr in great.
Compare coda (def 5), core1 (def 14).
Origin of onset
1525-1535
1525-35; on + set, after the verb phrase set on
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for onset
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The shrieks of women and children blended fearfully with the rattle of musketry and the cry of onset.

    King Philip John S. C. (John Stevens Cabot) Abbott
  • The onset of their attack was invariably sudden and with scarcely any warning.

    Disturbing Sun Robert Shirley Richardson
  • You are more to be feared in the onset than on account of the force of your blows.

    Snnica Vicente Blasco Ibez
  • At the first onset the reptile had used every effort to retreat in that direction.

    The Forest Exiles Mayne Reid
  • The onset was terrific: the second line was broken like the first, and in its rear the red-coated riders appeared.

British Dictionary definitions for onset

onset

/ˈɒnˌsɛt/
noun
1.
an attack; assault
2.
a start; beginning
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for onset
n.

1530s, "attack, assault," from on + set (n.); cf. to set (something) on (someone). Weaker sense of "beginning, start" first recorded 1560s. Figurative use in reference to a calamity, disease, etc. is from 1580s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
onset in Medicine

onset on·set (ŏn'sět')
n.
A beginning; a start, as of a cold.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for onset

Many English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for onset

5
6
Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for onset