AskDefine | Define onset

Dictionary Definition



1 the beginning or early stages; "the onset of pneumonia" [syn: oncoming]
2 (military) an offensive against an enemy (using weapons); "the attack began at dawn" [syn: attack, onslaught, onrush]

User Contributed Dictionary





  1. A rushing or setting upon; an attack; an assault; a storming; especially, the assault of an army.
  2. The initial phase of a disease or condition, in which symptoms first become apparent.
  3. The initial portion of a syllable, preceding the syllable nucleus.
  4. The beginning of a musical note or other sound, in which the amplitude rises from zero to an initial peak.
  5. A setting about; a beginning.
    • Francis Bacon,
      There is surely no greater wisdom than well to time the beginnings and onsets of things.
  6. Anything set on, or added, as an ornament or as a useful appendage.


A rushing or setting upon
A setting about


  1. To assault; to set upon.
  2. To set about; to begin.

Extensive Definition

Onset may refer to:
  • Onset (audio), the beginning of a musical note or sound
  • Interonset interval, a term in music
  • Syllable onset, a term in phonetics and phonology
  • In medicine, the first appearance of the signs or symptoms of an illness or disease.
  • 'onset' a beginning or start. an assault or attack.
Onset may also refer to specific name:

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

A, aggravated assault, aggression, albertype, alpha, amphibious attack, appearance, armed assault, assailing, assailment, assault, attack, banzai attack, beginning, birth, blast-off, blitz, blitzkrieg, book printing, breakthrough, charge, chromotypography, chromotypy, chromoxylography, collotype, color printing, commencement, counterattack, counteroffensive, coup de main, creation, crippling attack, cutting edge, dawn, dawning, dead set at, debut, descent on, diversion, diversionary attack, drive, edge, electronography, electrostatic printing, establishment, flank attack, flying start, foundation, fresh start, frontal attack, gas attack, genesis, graphic arts, gravure, halftone engraving, head-on attack, history of printing, hit, inauguration, inception, infiltration, initiation, institution, job printing, jump-off, kick-off, leading edge, letterpress, letterpress photoengraving, lightning attack, lightning war, line engraving, lithography, lithogravure, lithophotogravure, mass attack, megadeath, mimeograph, mugging, new departure, offense, offensive, offset, offset lithography, oncoming, onrush, onslaught, opening, origin, origination, outbreak, outset, outstart, overkill, palaeotypography, panzer warfare, photo-offset, photochemical process, photoengraving, photogelatin process, photographic reproduction, photography, photolithography, phototypography, phototypy, photozincography, planographic printing, planography, printing, printmaking, publication, publishing, push, raid, relief printing, rotary photogravure, rotogravure, run against, run at, running start, rush, sally, send-off, setout, setting in motion, setting-up, sheetwork, shock tactics, sortie, square one, start, start-off, starting point, stencil, storming, strike, take-off, three-color printing, two-color printing, typography, typolithography, unprovoked assault, wood-block printing, xerography, xeroprinting, xylotypography, zincography
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