1. The act or process of bringing or being brought into being; a start: the beginning of the universe.
a. The time when something begins or is begun: the beginning of June.
b. The place where something begins or is begun: at the beginning of the road.
a. The first part: The front matter is at the beginning of the book.
b. often beginnings An early stage or phase: the beginnings of human life on this planet.
c. The source or cause: What was the beginning of the dispute?
Synonyms: beginning, birth, dawn, genesis, nascence, rise
These nouns denote the initial stage of a developmental process: the beginning of a new era in technology; the birth of the industrial economy; the dawn of civilization; the genesis of quantum mechanics; the nascence of classical sculpture; the rise and decline of an ancient city-state.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.