on·​set | \ ˈȯn-ˌset How to pronounce onset (audio) , ˈän- \

Definition of onset

1 : attack, assault withstand the onset of the army
2 : beginning, commencement the onset of winter the onset of age-related diseases

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of onset in a Sentence

the walls withstood the onset of the first battalion the claim that if you take enough vitamin C at the onset of a cold, you'll often recover faster
Recent Examples on the Web Violence against Asian-Americans, particularly women, has been intensifying since the onset of the Covid-19 in March 2020. Halley Bondy, NBC News, "After being violently attacked, fashion CEO Lisa Sun learned the power of allyship," 6 May 2021 Traffic trends on its websites improved since the onset of the pandemic, suggesting that consumers are rather interested to travel now but are hesitant to book their plans. Trefis Team, Forbes, "What To Expect From TripAdvisor’s Stock Post Q1 Release?," 5 May 2021 Since the onset of the pandemic, the price of lumber has skyrocketed 280%. Fortune, "‘Pure panic’: Lumber prices up a staggering 280% as builders scramble for supply," 5 May 2021 Freshplace serves up to 100 families living in the poorest neighborhoods in the North End of Hartford, Since the onset of the pandemic, Freshplace has seen an increase in the demand for food. courant.com, "Community News For The Colchester Edition," 30 Apr. 2021 Boeing’s stock has only been marginally dented by the recent string of missteps and has performed almost as well as Airbus’s since the onset of the pandemic. Jon Sindreu, WSJ, "For Boeing, Delivering Will Be Tough," 28 Apr. 2021 From a list compiled by the Leibniz Institute for the German Language of more than a thousand German words that have been coined since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. John Sherman, Harper's Magazine, "The Sorrows of Young Wörter," 27 Apr. 2021 While the producers have made significant cuts to their collective workforce, first after 2014 and again since the onset of the pandemic, most of the job losses have been with oilfield service contractors and support companies, according to Fried. Elwood Brehmer, Anchorage Daily News, "Alaska oil industry still reeling from pandemic crash even as prices recover," 22 Apr. 2021 The Chula Vista Police Department’s license plate readers are staying for at least another year, a unanimous City Council decided Tuesday during its first in-person meeting since the onset of the pandemic. San Diego Union-Tribune, "‘A necessary tool:’ Chula Vista approves keeping license plate readers," 21 Apr. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'onset.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of onset

circa 1522, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about onset

Time Traveler for onset

Time Traveler

The first known use of onset was circa 1522

See more words from the same year

Statistics for onset

Last Updated

8 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Onset.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/onset. Accessed 16 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for onset



English Language Learners Definition of onset

: the beginning of something


on·​set | \ ˈȯn-ˌset How to pronounce onset (audio) , ˈän- \

Kids Definition of onset

1 : beginning sense 1 the onset of winter


on·​set | \ ˈȯn-ˌset, ˈän- How to pronounce onset (audio) \

Medical Definition of onset

: the initial existence or symptoms of a disease the onset of scarlet fever

More from Merriam-Webster on onset

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for onset

Nglish: Translation of onset for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of onset for Arabic Speakers

Comments on onset

What made you want to look up onset? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Words Used by Nabokov Quiz

  • image1676440788
  • Choose the best definition or synonym for the word in bold: "There are some eructations that sound like cheers—at least, mine did." Lolita
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!