Also, in creation; in the world. Ever, anywhere, of all possible things. These phrases are all used for emphasis in questions or, less often, in a negative context. For example, What on earth is he doing with a spade? or Where in creation did that child go? or How in the world do you expect me to carry all those bags? [Late 1700s]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.
How to use on earth in a sentence
Penalties deep as death, and at length terrible as hell-on-earth, my constitutional friend!Latter-Day Pamphlets | Thomas Carlyle
I had been in this hell-on-earth for fifteen days without any secretion from the bowels.The Memoires of Casanova, Complete | Jacques Casanova de Seingalt
Then he asked a question: "When is this little hell-on-earth going to be finally extinguished, Victor?"The City of Numbered Days | Francis Lynde
Is it of a truth leading us into beatific Asphodel meadows, or the yellow-burning marl of a Hell-on-Earth?
Grandma said it would be heaven-on-earth to live there, if only you had a decent little house and a garden.Across the Fruited Plain | Florence Crannell Means