Origin of on

before 900; Middle English on, an, Old English: on, in, to; cognate with Dutch aan, German an, Old Norse ā, Gothic ana; akin to Greek aná up, upon (see ana-)
Can be confusedon on to onto

Definition for ons (2 of 2)


[ on ]
/ ɒn /


Biblical name of Heliopolis. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for ons

British Dictionary definitions for ons (1 of 4)


abbreviation for (in Britain)

Office for National Statistics

British Dictionary definitions for ons (2 of 4)


/ (ɒn) /


the ancient Egyptian and biblical name for Heliopolis

British Dictionary definitions for ons (3 of 4)


abbreviation for

Old Norse
(esp in postal addresses) Ontario

British Dictionary definitions for ons (4 of 4)

Word Origin for on

Old English an, on; related to Old Saxon an, Old High German, Gothic ana
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 ons



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper