come (v.)

elementary intransitive verb of motion, Old English cuman "to move with the purpose of reaching, or so as to reach, some point; to arrive by movement or progression;" also "move into view, appear, become perceptible; come to oneself, recover; arrive; assemble" (class IV strong verb; past tense cuom, com, past participle cumen), from Proto-Germanic *kwem- (source also of Old Saxon cuman, Old Frisian kuma, Middle Dutch comen, Dutch komen, Old High German queman, German kommen, Old Norse koma, Gothic qiman), from PIE root *gwa- "to go, come."

The substitution of Middle English -o- for Old English -u- was a scribal habit before minims to avoid misreading the letters in the old style handwriting, which jammed them together (see U). Modern past tense form came is Middle English, probably from Old Norse kvam, replacing Old English cuom.

Meaning "to happen, occur" is from early 12c. (come to pass "happen, occur" is from 1520s). As an invitation to action, c. 1300; as a call or appeal to a person (often in expanded forms: "come, come," "come, now"), mid-14c. Come again? as an off-hand way of asking "what did you say?" is attested by 1884. For sexual senses, see cum.

Remarkably productive with prepositions (NTC's "Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs" lists 198 combinations); consider the varied senses in come to "regain consciousness," come over "possess" (as an emotion), come at "attack," come on (interj.) "be serious," and come off "occur, have some level of success" (1864). Among other common expressions are:

To come down with "become ill with" (a disease), 1895; come in, of a radio operator, "begin speaking," 1958; come on "advance in growth or development," c. 1600; come out, of a young woman, "make a formal entry into society," 1782; come round "return to a normal state or better condition," 1841; come through "act as desired or expected," 1914; come up "arise as a subject of attention," 1844; come up with "produce, present," 1934.

To have it coming "deserve what one suffers" is from 1904. To come right down to it "get to fundamental facts" is from 1875.

updated on March 13, 2022

Definitions of come from WordNet
come (v.)
move toward, travel toward something or somebody or approach something or somebody;
come down here!
come out of the closet!
come into the room
He came singing down the road
Synonyms: come up
come (v.)
reach a destination; arrive by movement or progress;
Synonyms: arrive / get
come (v.)
come to pass; arrive, as in due course;
It came as a shock
Dawn comes early in June
The first success came three days later
come (v.)
reach or enter a state, relation, condition, use, or position;
I came to realize the true meaning of life
The shoes came untied
your wish will come true
We came to understand the true meaning of life
Their anger came to a boil
come into contact with a terrorist group
The water came to a boil
come (v.)
to be the product or result;
Understanding comes from experience
Melons come from a vine
Synonyms: follow
come (v.)
be found or available; "These shoes come in three colors; The furniture comes unassembled";
come (v.)
come forth;
His breath came hard
A scream came from the woman's mouth
Synonyms: issue forth
come (v.)
be a native of;
Synonyms: hail
come (v.)
extend or reach;
The water came up to my waist
The sleeves come to your knuckles
come (v.)
exist or occur in a certain point in a series;
Next came the student from France
come (v.)
cover a certain distance;
She came a long way
come (v.)
come under, be classified or included;
This comes under a new heading
Synonyms: fall
come (v.)
happen as a result;
Nothing good will come of this
come (v.)
add up in number or quantity;
The bill came to $2,000
Synonyms: total / number / add up / amount
come (v.)
develop into;
nothing came of his grandiose plans
Synonyms: add up / amount
come (v.)
be received;
News came in of the massacre in Rwanda
Synonyms: come in
come (v.)
come to one's mind; suggest itself;
A great idea then came to her
Synonyms: occur
come (v.)
come from; be connected by a relationship of blood, for example;
he comes from humble origins
Synonyms: derive / descend
come (v.)
proceed or get along;
He's come a long way
Synonyms: do / fare / make out / get along
come (v.)
experience orgasm;
she could not come because she was too upset
come (v.)
have a certain priority;
My family comes first
come (n.)
the thick white fluid containing spermatozoa that is ejaculated by the male genital tract;
Synonyms: semen / seed / seminal fluid / ejaculate / cum
Etymologies are not definitions. From, not affiliated with etymonline.