\ ˈȯn How to pronounce on (audio) , ˈän \

Essential Meaning of on

1 : touching and being supported by the top surface of (something) The book is (lying) on the table. There is a lot of frosting on the cake.
2 : to a position that is supported by (something) You can get on [=onto] the horse as soon as we've put the saddle on it. I climbed out on [=onto] the roof.
3 used to indicate the part or object by which someone or something is supported How long can you stand on one foot?He stood on the stool.He was on his hands and knees looking for her earring.

Full Definition of on

 (Entry 1 of 7)

1a used as a function word to indicate position in contact with and supported by the top surface of the book is lying on the table
b used as a function word to indicate position in or in contact with an outer surface the fly landed on the ceilingI have a cut on my fingerpaint on the wall
c used as a function word to indicate position in close proximity with a village on the seastay on your opponent
d used as a function word to indicate the location of something on the lefton the south side of the houseon the farm
2a used as a function word to indicate a source of attachment or support on a stringstand on one foothang it on a nail
b used as a function word to indicate a source of dependence you can rely on mefeeds on insectslives on a pension
c used as a function word to indicate means of conveyance on the bus
d used as a function word to indicate presence in the possession of had a knife on him
3 used as a function word to indicate a time frame during which something takes place a parade on Sunday or an instant, action, or occurrence when something begins or is done on cueon arriving home, I found your letternews on the hourcash on delivery
4 archaic : of
5a used as a function word to indicate manner of doing something often used with the on the slykeep everything on the up-and-up
b used as a function word to indicate means or agency cut myself on a knifetalk on the telephone
c used as a function word to indicate a medium of expression on stagebest show on television
6a(1) used as a function word to indicate active involvement in a condition or status on the increaseon the lookout
(2) : regularly using or showing the effects of using on drugs
b used as a function word to indicate involvement or participation on touron the teamon duty
c used as a function word to indicate inclusion put it on the agenda
d used as a function word to indicate position or status in proper relationship with a standard or objective on schedule
7a used as a function word to indicate reason, ground, or basis (as for an action, opinion, or computation) I have it on good authorityon one conditionthe interest will be 10 cents on the dollar
b used as a function word to indicate the cause or source profited on the sale of stock
c used as a function word to indicate the focus of obligation or responsibility drinks are on the houseput the blame on me
8a used as a function word to indicate the object of collision, opposition, or hostile action bumped my head on a limban attack on religionpulled a gun on me
b used as a function word to indicate the object with respect to some disadvantage, handicap, or detriment has three inches in height on mea 3-game lead on the second-place teamthe joke's on me
9a used as a function word to indicate destination or the focus of some action, movement, or directed effort crept up on himfeast your eyes on thisworking on my skiingmade a payment on the loan
b used as a function word to indicate the focus of feelings, determination, or will have pity on mekeen on sportsa curse on you
c used as a function word to indicate the object with respect to some misfortune or disadvantageous event the crops died on them
d used as a function word to indicate the subject of study, discussion, or consideration a book on insectsreflect on that a momentagree on price
e : with respect to go light on the salt short on cash
10 used as a function word to indicate reduplication or succession in a series loss on losstrouble on trouble

on

adverb

Definition of on (Entry 2 of 7)

1a : in or into a position of contact with an upper surface especially so as to be positioned for use or operation put the plates on
b : in or into a position of being attached to or covering a surface especially : in or into the condition of being worn put his new shoes on
2a : forward or at a more advanced point in space or time went on home later on
b : in continuance or succession rambled on and so on
3 : into operation or a position permitting operation switched the light on

Definition of on (Entry 3 of 7)

1 : engaged in an activity or function (such as a dramatic role)
2a(1) : being in operation The radio is on.
(2) : placed so as to permit operation The switch is on.
b : taking place or being broadcast The game is on.
3 : aware of something usually used with to My boss was on to me.
4 : intended, planned has nothing on for tonight
5 British : talking or harping incessantly used with about
6 chiefly British : regarded as possible or feasible usually used in negative constructions
7a : engaged in or as if in a performance The comedian was always on.
b : being at a high level of performance
variants: or Ont

Definition of ON (Entry 4 of 7)

Ontario

Definition of -on (Entry 5 of 7)

: chemical compound not a ketone or other oxo compound parathion

Definition of -on (Entry 6 of 7)

1 : subatomic particle nucleon
2a : unit : quantum photon magneton
b : basic hereditary component cistron operon

Definition of -on (Entry 7 of 7)

: noble gas radon

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Examples of on in a Sentence

Preposition There is a lot of frosting on the cake. books on sports heroes are my favorite reading matter Adverb We're far on with our project. I'll come by to help you later on. Adjective The lid is on tight. The band will be on in 10 minutes. He is on tomorrow from 6 a.m to 6 p.m.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Preposition Friends, family, even the fighting world has given up on her. Zoe Haylock, Vulture, 15 Oct. 2021 Police Chief James White on Monday presented checks to Gilda's Club of Detroit and the University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center. Joe Guillen, Detroit Free Press, 14 Oct. 2021 Michael Sam, the first openly gay player to be drafted into the NFL, addressed the homophobic emails that Jon Gruden wrote and surfaced publicly before Gruden resigned as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders on Monday. Josh Peter, USA TODAY, 14 Oct. 2021 The Apple self-driving car curb strike occurred on a Monday. Lance Eliot, Forbes, 14 Oct. 2021 Udoka said that Horford tested positive on Monday, and players are required to quarantine for 10 days and then produce two negative tests before returning. BostonGlobe.com, 14 Oct. 2021 Mary Fallin put a moratorium on them after the execution of Charles Warner with a drug that wasn’t authorized for that purpose. Arkansas Online, 14 Oct. 2021 During Covid, because family obligations fall mostly on them, women have left the workforce in greater numbers than men. Laura Kray And Margaret Lee, WSJ, 14 Oct. 2021 Durst was acquitted of murder after testifying that Morris Black pulled a gun on him and was killed in a struggle for the weapon. CBS News, 14 Oct. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb During a break, many brass and wind musicians put their masks back on, too. Anne Nickoloff, cleveland, 13 Oct. 2021 Switch your device back on and install Spotify from the App Store. Yoni Heisler, BGR, 8 Oct. 2021 An investigation into the firearm that was seized is on-going. Kenneth R. Gosselin, courant.com, 5 Oct. 2021 There is a 15th-century castle, and the cathedral has one of the finest mosaic floors in Italy, with zodiac signs, the Tower of Babel, and even Alexander the Great on there, all done in the 12th century. Julia Buckley, Travel + Leisure, 30 Sep. 2021 Detectives are looking into the situation as a homicide, and the investigation is still on-going. Caroleina Hassett, The Arizona Republic, 28 Sep. 2021 Tommy La Stella put the team ahead with a two-strike single, and Crawford provided the coup de grace with a three-run homer, his 23rd, an on-going career high. Susan Slusser, San Francisco Chronicle, 26 Sep. 2021 Wallen started to take off his guitar, and Church encouraged him to strap his instrument back on. Cindy Watts, PEOPLE.com, 25 Sep. 2021 Eventually, the electricity came back on and the generators were no longer needed. Washington Post, 23 Sep. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Blue Ridge Mountains isn’t known for a wild nightlife scene but its on-site, 30-foot observatory dome draws an after-dark crowd. Nina Molina, WSJ, 15 Oct. 2021 Center fielder Harrison Bader was 12 when Wainwright got that save in ’06 and now has a straight-on view every time the lanky Georgian pitches. John Perrotto, Forbes, 21 Sep. 2021 Streaming service Hulu is raising the monthly price of its on-demand video plans by $1, beginning Oct. 8. Mike Snider, USA TODAY, 7 Sep. 2021 But in hair follicles affected by alopecia, the gene is stuck in the on position, constantly signaling for the cells’ own demise. Marla Broadfoot, Scientific American, 1 Sep. 2021 Shuba is depicted holding two bats in his left hand from his on-deck warmup. Marc Bona, cleveland, 17 July 2021 Franco — a 20-year-old rookie shortstop who made his MLB debut in June — singled to start the threat in the first inning, extending his on-base streak to 39 games. Evan Petzold, Detroit Free Press, 11 Sep. 2021 Rays rookie Wander Franco extended his on-base streak to 35 with an seventh-inning double. Mark Didtler, orlandosentinel.com, 6 Sep. 2021 Should Conley by that time have regressed in his on-court play, the Jazz could simply swallow that money and save over $10 million that summer. Morten Jensen, Forbes, 31 Aug. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'on.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of on

Preposition

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Adverb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Adjective

circa 1541, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for on

Preposition, Adverb, and Adjective

Middle English an, on, preposition & adverb, from Old English; akin to Old High German ana on, Greek ana up, on

Noun suffix (1)

International Scientific Vocabulary, alteration of -one

Noun suffix (2)

from -on (in ion)

Noun suffix (3)

New Latin, from -on (in argon)

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Learn More About on

Time Traveler for on

Time Traveler

The first known use of on was before the 12th century

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Dictionary Entries Near on

Ōmura

on

ON

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Statistics for on

Last Updated

16 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“On.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/on. Accessed 26 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for on

on

preposition
\ ˈȯn How to pronounce on (audio) , ˈän \

Kids Definition of on

 (Entry 1 of 4)

1 : in contact with and supported by Put the books on the table.
2 used to indicate means of being carried He rode on a tractor.
3 used to indicate the location of something Both bedrooms are on the top floor.
4 used to indicate the focus of a certain action He went down on his stomach.She chewed on gum.We called the police on him.
5 : against sense 4 There were shadows on the wall.
6 : near or connected with We stopped in a town on the river.
7 : to entry 1 sense 1 Mine is the first house on the left.
8 : sometime during We can begin work on Monday.
9 : in the state or process of on fire on sale
10 : about entry 2 sense 1 I'm looking for a book on minerals.
11 : by means of She likes to talk on the phone.

on

adverb

Kids Definition of on (Entry 2 of 4)

1 : into operation or a position allowing operation Turn the light on.
2 : in or into contact with a surface Put the kettle on. She has new shoes on.
3 : forward in time, space, or action We finally went on home. The argument went on for weeks.
4 : from one to another Pass the word on.

on

adjective

Kids Definition of on (Entry 3 of 4)

1 : being in operation The radio is on.
2 : placed so as to allow operation The switch is on.
3 : taking place The game is on.
4 : having been planned She has nothing on for tonight.

ON

abbreviation

Kids Definition of ON

Ontario

on

preposition
\ ˈȯn, ˈän How to pronounce on (audio) \

Medical Definition of on

: regularly using or showing the effects of using is on an ACE inhibitor to control hypertension was on drugs for two years before entering rehab

More from Merriam-Webster on on

Nglish: Translation of on for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of on for Arabic Speakers

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