Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A forward rush or flow.
  • n. A violent physical or verbal attack; an assault.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A forceful rush or flow forward
  • n. An aggressive assault

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A rushing onward.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A rush or dash onward; a rapid or violent onset.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a forceful forward rush or flow
  • n. (military) an offensive against an enemy (using weapons)

Etymologies

From on- +‎ rush. Compare Middle English onresen ("to rush upon; attack"), from Old English onrǣsan ("to rush, rush on"); Old English onrǣs ("an onrush, assault, attack"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Because when George Bush got elected the second time you really felt helpless, and then with Obama there was this onrush of hope and ambitiousness, and then... we've been kind of disappointed.

    Ben Evans: John Dunsworth of Trailer Park Boys on Liquor and Politics

  • To stem this onrush of disastrous improvisations, conservatives need every resource of mind and heart, every good argument, every creative alternative and every bit of compassionate sympathy for the distress that is pushing Americans in the wrong direction.

    Sunday Reading

  • Don't, though, whatever you do, call this apparent onrush of girliness feminine.

    Karla Black at the Venice Biennale: 'Don't call my art feminine'

  • Almost, when he knew the blow had started and just ere the edge of steel bit the flesh and nerves it seemed that he gazed upon the serene face of the Medusa, Truth - And, simultaneous with the bite of the steel on the onrush of the dark, in a flashing instant of fancy, he saw the vision of his head turning slowly, always turning, in the devil-devil house beside the breadfruit tree.

    THE RED ONE

  • By the time you read this, the two days of riots I'm referring to might have swollen into a major crisis -- or they might have been subsumed and forgotten in the din and onrush of mayhem in Libya and Syria, radiation in Japan or whatever's next.

    Ethan Casey: Terry Jones' America Is A Dangerous Place To Be

  • There was a time when I was deeply enamored of Bateson's approach, but I have come to view it as somewhat puerile (but maybe that's just the onrush of mortality, or early Alzheimer's, or both).

    Against Darwinism

  • In Inertia, a young woman lies on top of a bullet train carriage, her dress ballooning against the wind, in a blatantly Freudian onrush of high-speed elation.

    This week's new exhibitions

  • Donna Rifkind praised Julie Orringer's The Invisible Bridge Vintage, $15.95, a fictional "account of the very particular way in which Hungary's Jewish population was decimated by the Holocaust," for its "brilliant use of a deliberately old-fashioned realism to define individual fates engulfed by history's deadly onrush."

    The case for an unplugged life

  • If it's been a tough few days and words of encouragement are much needed, a post on Care Pages, a CaringBridge online journal or a Facebook page can bring an instant onrush of well wishes from far-flung friends.

    Jeanne Dennis: Destigmatizing Death and Dying Through Social Media

  • Lost as we all are, we can understand why some retreat into fundamentalisms that provide archaic certainties, holding houses of containment before the onrush of new realities.

    The 'Future of God' Debate

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