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Etymology 1Edit

From Middle English oncomen, from Old English oncuman, ancuman (to arrive, come upon, happen), equivalent to on- +‎ come. Cognate with Dutch aankomen (to arrive), German ankommen (to arrive), Swedish ankomma (to arrive).


oncome (third-person singular simple present oncomes, present participle oncoming, simple past oncame, past participle oncome)

  1. (intransitive, rare) To arrive; come to; come on.
    • 1844, Homerus, The Iliad, rendered in Homeric verse, by L. Shadwell:
      This said, and shaking his long dark spear, then forward he hurl'd it Into the fullround buckler of Priamides Alexander; Right thro' his glittering shield oncame the redoubtable warspear, On still advanced, throughpiercing his breastplate's various-art-work [...]
    • 1999, Alfred Corn, Stake: poems, 1972-1992:
      A trip from you. Taken. . . . Then time oncame [...]

Etymology 2Edit

From Middle English oncome (an attack), equivalent to on- +‎ come. Compare Old English ancuman (to arrive, come upon, happen). More at ancome, income.


oncome (plural oncomes)

  1. Advent, arrival, approach; onset
    • 1978, Edna O'Brien, I hardly knew you:
      I see the dawn or rather I feel the oncome of it.
  2. The commencement or initial stages of a business, especially of one which requires great exertion.
  3. The setting about of an action; development; progress.
  4. An attack; an attack or onset of a disease, fit, or episode.
    • 1881, American journal of obstetrics and diseases of women and children: Volume 14:
      On inquiry it was found that this neurosis corresponded in time with the oncome of the catamenia.
    • 1906, Appleton's magazine: Volume 7:
      "She often has oncomes," explained Angus shortly. "But now we will tell, for though but children, we talk straighter."
  5. (dialectal) A mysterious disease or ailment.
    • 1858, Sir Walter Scott, The bride of Lammermoor:
      This woman had acquired a considerable reputation among the ignorant by the pretended cures which she performed, especially in oncomes, as the Scotch call them, or mysterious diseases, which baffle the regular physician.
  6. (dialectal) A heavy fall of rain or snow; cloudburst.
  7. (of a chimney) The lower edge of a fire-clay lining piece.




oncome (plural oncomes)

  1. advent, arrival (of)
    but thir is nae mair an the oncome o birth-thraws --Mark 13, W.L. Lorimer translation