[bih-lawng-ing, -long-]
See more synonyms for belonging on

Origin of belonging

First recorded in 1595–1605; belong + -ing1
Related formsun·be·long·ing, adjective


[bih-lawng, -long]
verb (used without object)
  1. to be in the relation of a member, adherent, inhabitant, etc. (usually followed by to): He belongs to the Knights of Columbus.
  2. to have the proper qualifications, especially social qualifications, to be a member of a group: You don't belong in this club.
  3. to be proper or due; be properly or appropriately placed, situated, etc.: Books belong in every home. This belongs on the shelf. He is a statesman who belongs among the great.
Verb Phrases
  1. belong to,
    1. to be the property of: The book belongs to her.
    2. to be a part or adjunct of: That cover belongs to this jar.

Origin of belong

1300–50; Middle English belongen, equivalent to be- be- + longen to belong, verbal derivative of long (adj.) belonging, Old English gelang along Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for belonging

Contemporary Examples of belonging

Historical Examples of belonging

  • I must say I don't know of any belonging to the latter class.

    Ballads of a Bohemian

    Robert W. Service

  • Why resist, and refuse the glory of belonging to the faculty?

  • He carried Kingozi's rifle, but left that belonging to Winkleman with Mali-ya-bwana.

    The Leopard Woman

    Stewart Edward White

  • You heard what I said, Douw, upon your belonging henceforth to this house--to me?

    In the Valley

    Harold Frederic

  • I'll not ask you, with your remembrance of my house and all belonging to it, whether you believe it.

    Little Dorrit

    Charles Dickens

British Dictionary definitions for belonging


  1. secure relationship; affinity (esp in the phrase a sense of belonging)


verb (intr)
  1. (foll by to) to be the property or possession (of)
  2. (foll by to) to be bound to (a person, place, or club) by ties of affection, dependence, allegiance, or membership
  3. (foll by to, under, with, etc) to be classified (with)this plant belongs to the daisy family
  4. (foll by to) to be a part or adjunct (of)this top belongs to the smaller box
  5. to have a proper or usual placethat plate belongs in the cupboard
  6. informal to be suitable or acceptable, esp sociallyalthough they were rich, they just didn't belong

Word Origin for belong

C14 belongen, from be- (intensive) + longen; related to Old High German bilangēn to reach; see long ³
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 belonging



mid-14c., "to go along with, properly relate to," from be- intensive prefix, + longen "to go," from Old English langian "pertain to, to go along with," of unknown origin. Senses of "be the property of" and "be a member of" first recorded late 14c. Cognate with Middle Dutch belanghen, Dutch belangen, German belangen. Replaced earlier Old English gelang, with completive prefix ge-.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with belonging


see to the victor belong the spoils.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.