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on- +‎ coming


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oncoming (plural oncomings)

  1. Approach, onset
    • 1922 February, James Joyce, “[Episode 15: Circe]”, in Ulysses, Paris: Shakespeare and Company, [], →OCLC, part II [Odyssey], page 502:
      Some man that wayfaring was stood by housedoor at night's oncoming.
      Penguin, 2000
    • 1923, Powys Mathers, The Book of the Thousand Nights and One Night, Rendered into English from the Literal and Complete French Translation of Dr. J. C. Mardrus, volume IV, London: Routledge, published 2005, page 192:
      When she saw the oncoming of the armed men, with the King shining at their head, Little-Foot was again thrown into terror and begged her brother to escape while there was yet time []
    • 1924, D. H. Lawrence, “Jimmy and the Desperate Woman”, in The Complete Short Stories, volume 3, Penguin, published 1977, page 609:
      Instead, the sound of muffled drums
      Inside myself: I have to lean
      And listen as my strength succumbs,
      To hear what these oncomings mean.
    • 1958, Sylvia Plath, “Whiteness I Remember”, in The Collected Poems, New York: Harper & Row, published 1981, page 103:
      [] And
      Wouldn't slow for the hauled reins, his name,
      Or shouts of walkers: crossroad traffic
      Stalling curbside at his oncoming
      The world subdued to his run of it.



oncoming (not comparable)

  1. approaching; coming closer
    Look carefully before pulling out into oncoming traffic.
    • 1894, Ivan Dexter, Talmud: A Strange Narrative of Central Australia, published in serial form in Port Adelaide News and Lefevre's Peninsula Advertiser (SA), Chapter XIII, [1]
      The attack was made so unexpectedly that Garfield had no time to escape the oncoming spears, three of which struck him in the body.
    • 1937, J. R. R. Tolkien, chapter 13, in The Hobbit, Ballantine, published 1982, page 242:
      A bitter easterly breeze blew with a threat of oncoming winter.
    • 1960 November, David Morgan, “"Piggyback"—U.S. success story”, in Trains Illustrated, page 684:
      For example, when trailers containing new automobiles were first piggybacked two areas of potential damage became evident: (1) diesel locomotive exhaust left a film of oil on the new autos; and (2) auto windshields could be scarred or cracked by the metal-tipped "tell-tales" which warn men atop trains of oncoming bridges or tunnels.
    • 1969, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, On Death and Dying, New York: Scribner, published 2003, pages 52–3:
      A healthier, stronger individual can deal with it better and is less frightened by oncoming death when it is still "miles away" than when it "is right in front of the door," as one of our patients put it so appropriately.
    • 1970, Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye, New York: Vintage, published 2007, page 40:
      Because it had not taken place immediately, the oncoming fight would lack spontaneity; it would be calculated, uninspired, and deadly.




  1. present participle and gerund of oncome