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definitions
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online

or on-line, on line

[on-lahyn, awn-]
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adjective
  1. operating under the direct control of, or connected to, a main computer.
  2. connected by computer to one or more other computers or networks, as through a commercial electronic information service or the Internet.
  3. of or denoting a business that transmits electronic information over telecommunications lines: an online bookstore.
  4. available or operating on a computer or computer network: an online dictionary.
  5. by means of or using a computer: online shopping.
  6. Radio. (of a network) supplying affiliated stations with all or a substantial part of their programming.
  7. Television. of or relating to the final editing of a videotaped program.
  8. done or accomplished while in operation or active service: online maintenance.
  9. located on major routes or rail lines: online industries.
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adverb
  1. with or through a computer, especially over a network.
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Compare offline.

Origin of online

First recorded in 1945–50
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for online

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British Dictionary definitions for online

online

on-line

adjective
  1. of, relating to, or concerned with a peripheral device that is directly connected to and controlled by the central processing unit of a computer
  2. of or relating to the internetonline shopping
  3. occurring as part of, or involving, a continuous sequence of operations, such as a production line
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adverb
  1. while connected to a computer or the internet
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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 online

adj.

in reference to computers, "directly connected to a peripheral device," 1950 (originally as on-line).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

online in Science

online

[ŏnlīn]
  1. Connected to or accessible by means of a computer or computer network.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

online in Culture

online

A term referring to locations on or use of the Internet. The term can be used to refer to a specific location or Web page (“Our sales catalogues can be found online at — ”) or to a personal activity (“I went online to find the information you wanted.”)

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.