or on-line, on line

[ on-lahyn, awn- ]
/ ˈɒnˈlaɪn, ˈɔn- /



with or through a computer, especially over a network.
Compare offline.

Origin of online

First recorded in 1945–50 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for online

British Dictionary definitions for online



/ (ˈɒnˌlaɪn) /


of, relating to, or concerned with a peripheral device that is directly connected to and controlled by the central processing unit of a computer
of or relating to the internetonline shopping
occurring as part of, or involving, a continuous sequence of operations, such as a production line


while connected to a computer or the internet
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



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Science definitions for online


[ ŏnlīn ]

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

Culture definitions for 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.”)

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.