See more synonyms for beginning on
  1. an act or circumstance of entering upon an action or state: the beginning of hostilities.
  2. the point of time or space at which anything begins: the beginning of the Christian era; the beginning of the route.
  3. the first part: the beginning of the book; the beginning of the month.
  4. Often beginnings. the initial stage or part of anything: the beginnings of science.
  5. origin; source; first cause: A misunderstanding about the rent was the beginning of their quarrel.
  1. just formed: a beginning company.
  2. first; opening: the beginning chapters of a book.
  3. basic or introductory: beginning Spanish.
  4. learning the fundamentals: a beginning swimmer.

Origin of beginning

First recorded in 1175–1225, beginning is from the Middle English word beginnung, -ing. See begin, -ing1

Synonyms for beginning

See more synonyms for on

Antonyms for beginning

1. ending. 2. end.


verb (used without object), be·gan, be·gun, be·gin·ning.
  1. to proceed to perform the first or earliest part of some action; commence; start: The story begins with their marriage.
  2. to come into existence; arise; originate: The custom began during the Civil War.
verb (used with object), be·gan, be·gun, be·gin·ning.
  1. to proceed to perform the first or earliest part of (some action): Begin the job tomorrow.
  2. to originate; be the originator of: civic leaders who began the reform movement.
  3. to succeed to the slightest extent in (followed by an infinitive): The money won't even begin to cover expenses.

Origin of begin

before 1000; Middle English beginnen, Old English beginnan, equivalent to be- be- + -ginnan to begin, perhaps orig. to open, akin to yawn

Synonyms for begin

See more synonyms for on

Synonym study

3. Begin, commence, initiate, start (when followed by noun or gerund) refer to setting into motion or progress something that continues for some time. Begin is the common term: to begin knitting a sweater. Commence is a more formal word, often suggesting a more prolonged or elaborate beginning: to commence proceedings in court. Initiate implies an active and often ingenious first act in a new field: to initiate a new procedure. Start means to make a first move or to set out on a course of action: to start paving a street.

Antonyms for begin

1. end. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for beginning

Contemporary Examples of beginning

Historical Examples of beginning

  • He was beginning to be more afraid and more distrustful of his nephew than ever.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • In the private car the little party was beginning its own journey Eastward.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • His spirits rose, and he felt that life was just beginning for him.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • In the beginning, a star, when drawn with a nail into a brick looked as follows.

    Ancient Man

    Hendrik Willem van Loon

  • Beginning of the struggle between Indo-Europeans and Semites.

    Ancient Man

    Hendrik Willem van Loon

British Dictionary definitions for beginning


  1. a start; commencement
  2. (often plural) a first or early part or stage
  3. the place where or time when something starts
  4. an origin; source


  1. Menachem (məˈnɑːkɪm). 1913–92, Israeli statesman, born in Poland. In Palestine after 1942, he became a leader of the militant Zionists; prime minister of Israel (1977–83); Nobel peace prize jointly with Sadat 1978. In 1979 he concluded the Camp David treaty with Anwar Sadat of Egypt


verb -gins, -ginning, -gan or -gun
  1. to start or cause to start (something or to do something)
  2. to bring or come into being for the first time; arise or originate
  3. to start to say or speak
  4. (used with a negative) to have the least capacity (to do something)he couldn't begin to compete with her
  5. to begin with in the first place

Word Origin for begin

Old English beginnan; related to Old High German biginnan, Gothic duginnan
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

Word Origin and History for beginning

late 12c., "time when something begins," from begin. Meaning "act of starting something" is from early 13c. The Old English word was fruma.



Old English beginnan "to begin, attempt, undertake," a rare word beside the more usual form onginnan (class III strong verb; past tense ongann, past participle ongunnen); from bi- (see be-) + West Germanbic *ginnan, of obscure meaning and found only in compounds, perhaps "to open, open up" (cf. Old High German in-ginnan "to cut open, open up," also "begin, undertake"), with sense evolution from "open" to "begin." Cognates elsewhere in Germanic include Old Frisian biginna "to begin," Middle Dutch beghinnen, Old High German beginnan, German beginnen, Old Frisian bijenna "to begin," Gothic duginnan.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with beginning


In addition to the idioms beginning with begin

  • beginning of the end, the
  • begin to see daylight
  • begin to see the light
  • begin with

also see:

  • charity begins at home
  • (begin to) see the light
  • to start (begin) with
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.