- The definition of on is in action or performing a function.
An example of on is a lamp giving off light.
- On is defined as to show position.
An example of on is a book resting on top of a table.
A book sits on this wicker table.
- in a position above, but in contact with and supported by; upon
- in contact with (any surface); covering or attached to
- so as to be supported by: leaning on his elbow
- in the surface of: a scar on the body
- near to; by: a cottage on the lake, seated on my right
- having as its location: a house on Main Street
- assigned to work at or in: on the maternity ward, on the switchboard
- at or during the time of: on entering, on the first day
- having a basis of or having its ground in (something specified): based on her diary, on purpose
- connected with as a part or member: on the faculty
- engaged in: on a trip
- in the state or condition of: on parole, on fire
- in a (specified) manner: chiefly archaic except in phrases with the: on the sly
- as a result of: a profit on the sale
- in the direction or vicinity of: light shone on us
- so as to affect: to put a curse on someone
- regularly following (a regimen), ingesting (medicine), etc., as to promote good health: on a diet, on penicillin
- through the means or use of: to live on bread, running on diesel fuel
- through the medium of: on the phone, to act on TV
- using for transportation: on a train
- with regard to; concerning: an essay on war
- coming after: used to indicate repetition: we suffered insult on insult
- placing obligation or responsibility with: rely on me; the onus is on him
- onto: just throw it on the porch
- ☆ chargeable to; at the expense of: have a drink on the house; lunch is on me
- in jazz, popular music, etc.,
- playing: Jim is on guitar
- in (): he played on the Basie band
- ☆ Informal habitually using; addicted to: to be on drugs
- Informal carried by: I have no money on me
- Informal constantly nagging at, finding fault with, etc.: the boss has been on him all day
- Dialectal of, at, about, for, in
- Brit. in (, , )
- Chiefly Northeast in (): waiting on line at the bank
Origin of onMiddle English ; from Old English on, an, akin to German an, Gothic ana, Old Norse ā ; from Indo-European base an unverified form an, an unverified form anō, probably meaning “obliquely toward, slanting toward” from source Classical Greek ana
- in or into a situation or position of contacting, being supported by, or covering: put your shoes on
- in a direction to or toward: he looked on
- in advance; forward; ahead: move on
- Brit. along in time; later; after: thirty years on, nothing had changed
- lastingly; continuously: she sang on
- into operation, performance, or action: switch on the light
- Baseball on base
- Theater on stage
- in action, operation, or occurrence: the TV is on
- near or nearer
- arranged or planned for: tomorrow's game is still on
- Slang performing or functioning at a high level of competence: he was really on in last night's game
- Cricket designating that side of the field, or of the wicket, where the batsman stands
- the fact or state of being on
- Cricket the on side
and so on
have something (or nothing) on someone☆
on and off
on and on
- Old Norse
Origin of -on; from -on in argon an inert gas: radon
Origin of -on< -on in ion a subatomic particle: neutron
Origin of -on< -one
- a functional unit: operon
- a unit of measure: photon
- a. Used to indicate position above and supported by or in contact with: The vase is on the table. We rested on our hands and knees.b. Used to indicate contact with or extent over (a surface) regardless of position: a picture on the wall; a rash on my back.c. Used to indicate location at or along: the pasture on the south side of the river; a house on the highway.d. Used to indicate proximity: a town on the border.e. Used to indicate attachment to or suspension from: beads on a string.f. Used to indicate figurative or abstract position: on the young side, but experienced; on her third beer; stopped on chapter two.
- a. Used to indicate actual motion toward, against, or onto: jumped on the table; the march on Washington.b. Used to indicate figurative or abstract motion toward, against, or onto: going on six o'clock; came on the answer by accident.
- a. Used to indicate occurrence at a given time: on July third; every hour on the hour.b. Used to indicate the particular occasion or circumstance: On entering the room, she saw him.
- a. Used to indicate the object affected by actual, perceptible action: The spotlight fell on the actress. He knocked on the door.b. Used to indicate the object affected by a figurative action: Have pity on them.c. Used to indicate the object of an action directed, tending, or moving against it: an attack on the fortress.d. Used to indicate the object of perception or thought: gazed on the vista; meditated on his actions.
- Used to indicate the agent or agency of a specified action: cut his foot on the broken glass; talked on the telephone.
- a. Used to indicate a medicine or other corrective taken or undertaken routinely: went on a strict diet.b. Used to indicate a substance that is the cause of an addiction, a habit, or an altered state of consciousness: high on dope.
- a. Used to indicate a source or basis: “We will reach our judgments not on intentions or on promises but on deeds and on results” (Margaret Thatcher).b. Used to indicate a source of power or energy: The car runs on methane.
- a. Used to indicate the state or process of: on leave; on fire; on the way.b. Used to indicate the purpose of: travel on business.c. Used to indicate a means of conveyance: ride on a train.d. Used to indicate availability by means of: beer on tap; a physician on call.
- Used to indicate belonging to: a nurse on the hospital staff.
- Used to indicate addition or repetition: heaped error on error.
- a. Concerning; about: a book on astronomy.b. Concerning and to the disadvantage of: We have some evidence on him.
- Informal In one's possession; with: I haven't a cent on me.
- At the expense of; compliments of: drinks on the house.
- In or into a position or condition of being supported by or in contact with something: Put the coffee on.
- In or into a position of being attached to or covering something: Put your clothes on.
- In the direction of something: He looked on while the ship docked.
- a. Toward or at a point lying ahead in space or time; forward: The play moved on to the next city.b. At or to a more distant point in time or space: I'll do it later on.c. Toward or to a different state or condition: Let's move on to another subject.
- In a continuous course: He worked on quietly.
- a. In or into performance or operation: Turn on the radio.b. In progress or action; in a state of activity: The show must go on.
- In or at the present position or condition: stay on; hang on.
- In a condition of being scheduled for or decided upon: There is a party on tonight.
- Being in operation: The television is on.
- a. Engaged in a given function or activity, such as a vocal or dramatic role: You're on in five minutes!b. Under or behaving as if under observation: A minister is always on.
- Informal Functioning or performing at a high degree of competence or energy: The goalie is really on.
- a. Planned; intended: We have nothing much on for this weekend.b. Happening; taking place: The parade is on.
- Baseball Having reached base safely; on base: Two runners are on.
Origin of onMiddle English, from Old English an, on; see an- in Indo-European roots. Usage Note: Both on and onto can be used to indicate motion toward a position: The cat jumped on the table or The cat jumped onto the table. However, onto is more specific, indicating that the motion was initiated from an outside point. They wandered onto the battlefield means that they began their wandering at some point off the battlefield, while They wandered on the battlefield implies that the wandering began on the battlefield.
- Old Norse
- a. A discrete, small unit, such as a subatomic particle: baryon.b. A property of a physical system when quantized as a particle: phonon.
- A sequence of nucleotides or region of DNA: codon.
Origin of -onFrom (electr)on (influenced by Greek -on, neuter of -os, n. and adj. suff., and -on, neuter of -ōn, n. and adj. suff.)
Origin of -onNew Latin, from (arg)on.
Origin of -onAlteration of –one.
- In the state of being active, functioning or operating.
- Performing according to schedule.
- Are we still on for tonight?
- Is the show still on?
- (UK, informal) Acceptable, appropriate.
- right on; bang on; not on
- (informal) Destined, normally in the context of a challenge being accepted; involved, doomed.
- "Five bucks says the Cavs win tonight." ―"You're on!"
- Mike just threw coffee onto Paul's lap. It's on now.
- (baseball, informal) Having reached a base as a runner and being positioned there, awaiting further action from a subsequent batter.
- To an operating state.
- turn the television on
- Along, forwards (continuing an action).
- drive on, rock on
- In continuation, at length.
- and so on.
- He rambled on and on.
- (cricket) In, or towards the half of the field on the same side as the batsman's legs; the left side for a right-handed batsman; leg.
- (not US) Later.
- Ten years on nothing had changed in the village.
- Positioned at the upper surface of, touching from above.
- on the table; on the couch
- At or near; adjacent to.
- Soon we'll pass a statue on the left.
- The fleet is on the American coast.
- He wore old shoes on his feet.
- At the date of.
- Born on the 4th of July.
- Some time during the day of.
- I'll see you on Monday. The bus leaves on Friday. Can I see you on a different day? On Sunday I'm busy.
- Dealing with the subject of, about, or concerning something.
- A book on history. The World Summit on the Information Society.
- Touching; hanging from.
- The fruit ripened on the trees. The painting hangs on the wall.
- (informal) In the possession of.
- I haven't got any money on me.
- Because of, or due to.
- To arrest someone on suspicion of bribery. To contact someone on a hunch.
- Immediately after.
- On Jack's entry, William got up to leave.
- Paid for by.
- The drinks are on me tonight, boys. The meal is on the house. I paid for the airfare and meals for my family, but the hotel room was on the company.
- Used to indicate a means or medium.
- I saw it on television. Can't you see I'm on the phone?
- Indicating a means of subsistence.
- They lived on ten dollars a week. The dog survived three weeks on rainwater.
- Away or occupied with (e.g. a scheduled activity).
- He's on his lunch break. on vacation; on holiday
- Denoting performance or action by contact with the surface, upper part, or outside of anything; hence, by means of; with.
- to play on a violin or piano
- Her words made a lasting impression on my mind.
- Regularly taking (a drug).
- You've been on these antidepressants far too long. He's acting so strangely, I think he must be on something.
- (mathematics) Having identical domain and codomain.
- a function on V
- (mathematics) Having as domain and V as codomain, for some set V and integer n.
- an operator on V
- (mathematics) Generated by.
- the free group on four letters
- Supported by (the specified part of itself).
- A table can't stand on two legs. After resting on his elbows, he stood on his toes, then walked on his heels.
- At a given time after the start of something; at.
- In addition to; besides; indicating multiplication or succession in a series.
- heaps on heaps of food
- mischief on mischief; loss on loss
- Or have we eaten on the insane root / That takes the reason prisoner?
- Indicating dependence or reliance; with confidence in.
- I depended on them for assistance.
- He will promise on certain conditions.
- Do you ever bet on horses?
- Toward; for; indicating the object of an emotion.
- Have pity or compassion on him.
- In the service of; connected with; of the number of.
- He is on a newspaper; I am on the committee.
- By virtue of; with the pledge of.
- He affirmed or promised on his word, or on his honour.
- To the account of; denoting imprecation or invocation, or coming to, falling, or resting upon.
- On us be all the blame.
- A curse on him!
From Middle English on, from Old English on, an (“on, upon, onto, in, into”), from Proto-Germanic *ana (“on, at”), from Proto-Indo-European *ano-, *nō- (“on”). Cognate with North Frisian a (“on, in”), Dutch aan (“on, at, to”), Low German an (“on, at”), German an (“to, at, on”), Swedish å (“on, at, in”), Faroese á (“on, onto, in, at”), Icelandic á (“on, in”), Gothic (ana), Ancient Greek ἀνά (ana, “up, upon”), Albanian në (“in”); and from the Old Norse combination upp á: Danish på, Swedish på, Norwegian på, see upon.
- (UK dialectal, Scotland) Without.
- Usually followed by a perfect participle, as being, having, etc.
From Old Norse ón, án (“without”), from Proto-Germanic *ēnu, *ēno, *ino (“without”), from Proto-Indo-European *anew, *enew (“without”). Cognate with North Frisian on (“without”), Middle Dutch an, on (“without”), Middle Low German āne (“without”), German ohne (“without”), Gothic [script?] (inu, “without, except”), Ancient Greek ἄνευ (áneu, “without”).