- so as to be or remain supported by or suspended from: Put your package down on the table; Hang your coat on the hook.
- so as to be attached to or unified with: Hang the picture on the wall. Paste the label on the package.
- so as to be a covering or wrapping for: Put the blanket on the baby. Put aluminum foil on the lamb chops before freezing them.
- in connection, association, or cooperation with; as a part or element of: to serve on a jury.
- so as to be a supporting part, base, backing, etc., of: a painting on canvas; mounted on cardboard; legs on a chair.
- (used to indicate place, location, situation, etc.): a scar on the face; the book on the table; a house on 19th Street.
- (used to indicate immediate proximity): a house on the lake; to border on absurdity.
- in the direction of: on the left; to sail on a southerly course.
- (used to indicate a means of conveyance or a means of supporting or supplying movement): on the wing; This car runs on electricity. Can you walk on your hands? I'll be there on the noon plane.
- by the agency or means of: drunk on wine; talking on the phone; I saw it on television.
- in addition to: millions on millions of stars.
- with respect or regard to (used to indicate the object of an action directed against or toward): Let's play a joke on him. Write a critical essay on Shakespeare.
- in a state or condition of; in the process of: on strike; The house is on fire!
- subject to: a doctor on call.
- engaged in or involved with: He's on the second chapter now.
- (used to indicate a source or a person or thing that serves as a source or agent): a duty on imported goods; She depends on her friends for encouragement.
- (used to indicate a basis or ground): on my word of honor; The movie is based on the book.
- (used to indicate risk or liability): on pain of death.
- (used to indicate progress toward or completion of an objective): We completed the project on budget.
- assigned to or occupied with; operating: Who's on the switchboard this afternoon?
- Informal. so as to disturb or affect adversely: My hair dryer broke on me.
- Informal. paid for by, especially as a treat or gift: Dinner is on me.
- taking or using as a prescribed measure, cure, or the like: The doctor had her on a low-salt diet.
- regularly taking or addicted to: He was on drugs for two years.
- Informal. with; carried by: I have no money on me.
- (used to indicate time or occasion): on Sunday; We demand cash on delivery.
- (used to indicate the object or end of motion): to march on the capital.
- (used to indicate the object or end of action, thought, desire, etc.): to gaze on a scene.
- (used to indicate subject, reference, or respect): views on public matters.
- (used to indicate an encounter): The pickpocket crept up on a victim.
- in, into, or onto a position of being supported or attached: Sew the buttons on.
- in, into, or onto a position of covering or wrapping: Put your raincoat on.
- fast to a thing, as for support: Hold on!
- toward a place, point, activity, or object: to look on while others work.
- forward, onward, or along, as in any course or process: further on.
- with continuous activity: to work on.
- into or in active operation or performance: Turn the gas on.
- operating or in use: The television set was on. Is your brake on?
- taking place; occurring: Don't you know there's a war on?
- performing or broadcasting: The radio announcer told us we were on.
- behaving in a theatrical, lively, or ingratiating way: Around close friends, one doesn't have to be on every minute.
- functioning or performing at one's best: When she's on, no other tennis player is half as good.
- scheduled or planned: Anything on after supper?
- Baseball. positioned on a base or bases: They had two men on when he hit the home run.
- Cricket. noting that side of the wicket, or of the field, on which the batsman stands.
- Cricket. the on side.
Origin of on
- Biblical name of Heliopolis.
- Also ON., O.N. Old Norse.
- Ontario, Canada (approved for postal use).
- a suffix used in the names of subatomic particles (gluon; meson; neutron), quanta (graviton), and other minimal entities or components (cistron; codon; magneton; photon).
Origin of -on1
- a suffix used in the naming of inert gaseous elements: neon.
Origin of -on2
- in contact or connection with the surface of; at the upper surface ofan apple on the ground; a mark on the table cloth
- attached toa puppet on a string
- carried withI've no money on me
- in the immediate vicinity of; close to or along the side ofa house on the sea; this verges on the ridiculous!
- within the time limits of a day or datehe arrived on Thursday
- being performed upon or relayed through the medium ofwhat's on the television?
- at the occasion ofon his retirement
- used to indicate support, subsistence, contingency, etche lives on bread; it depends on what you want
- regularly taking (a drug)she's on the pill
- addicted tohe's on heroin
- by means of (something considered as a mode of transport) (esp in such phrases as on foot, on wheels, on horseback, etc)
- in the process or course ofon a journey; on strike
- concerned with or relating toa tax on potatoes; a programme on archaeology
- used to indicate the basis, grounds, or cause, as of a statement or actionI have it on good authority
- against: used to indicate oppositionthey marched on the city at dawn
- used to indicate a meeting or encounterhe crept up on her
- (used with an adjective preceded by the) indicating the manner or way in which an action is carried outon the sly; on the cheap
- staked or wagered as a betten pounds on that horse
- charged tothe drinks are on me
- (usually followed by it) Australian drinking alcoholic liquor
- informal, or dialect to the loss or disadvantage ofthe old car gave out on us
- in the position or state required for the commencement or sustained continuation, as of a mechanical operationthe radio's been on all night
- attached to, surrounding, or placed in contact with somethingthe girl had nothing on
- taking placewhat's on tonight?
- in a manner indicating continuity, persistence, concentration, etcdon't keep on about it; the play went on all afternoon
- in a direction towards something, esp forwards; so as to make progresswe drove on towards London; march on!
- on and off or off and on intermittently; from time to time
- on and on without ceasing; continually
- functioning; operatingturn the switch to the on position
- (postpositive) informal
- performing, as on stageI'm on in five minutes
- definitely taking placethe match is on for Friday; their marriage is still on
- tolerable, practicable, acceptable, etcyour plan just isn't on
- (of a person) willing to do something
- on at informal naggingshe was always on at her husband
- cricket (of a bowler) bowling
- (modifier)relating to or denoting the leg side of a cricket field or pitchthe on side; an on drive
- (in combination)used to designate certain fielding positions on the leg sidelong-on; mid-on
- the ancient Egyptian and biblical name for Heliopolis
- Old Norse
- (esp in postal addresses) Ontario
- indicating a chemical substanceinterferon; parathion
- (in physics) indicating an elementary particle or quantumelectron; photon
- (in chemistry) indicating an inert gasneon; radon
- (in biochemistry) a molecular unitcodon; operon
Word Origin and History for on
Old English on, unstressed variant of an "in, on, into," from Proto-Germanic *ana "on" (cf. Dutch aan, German an, Gothic ana "on, upon"), from PIE root *an- "on" (cf. Avestan ana "on," Greek ana "on, upon," Latin an-, Old Church Slavonic na, Lithuanian nuo "down from"). Also used in Old English in many places where we would now use in. From 16c.-18c. (and still in northern England dialect) often reduced to o'. Phrase on to "aware" is from 1877. On time is from 1890.
subatomic particle suffix, from ion.