on·​to | \ ˈȯn-(ˌ)tü How to pronounce onto (audio) , ˈän- \

Definition of onto

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to a position on We climbed onto the roof. Turn left onto Fifth Avenue.
2 : in or into a state of awareness about put me onto your methods was onto something that should have been pursued further— Bosley Crowther
3 used as a function word to indicate a set each element of which is the image of at least one element of another seta function mapping the set S onto the set T

Definition of onto (Entry 2 of 2)

: mapping elements in such a way that every element in one set is the image of at least one element in another set a function that is one-to-one and onto

Examples of onto in a Sentence

Preposition We climbed onto the building's roof. The book fell onto the floor. The water spilled onto the floor. The cowboy leaped onto his horse. Transfer the data onto a disk. Turn left onto Third Street at the traffic light.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Preposition In the past few months, the history wars have spilled onto the streets. The Economist, "Schools Changing history teaching," 4 July 2020 Books can be played on a computer or mobile device or burned onto a CD. Richard Marini, ExpressNews.com, "San Antonio Public Library, BiblioTech and other websites offer free ebooks," 2 July 2020 As the driver approached the intersection – reportedly at speeds of 65 mph – the car crashed into a minivan in the intersection, sending both careening onto the sidewalk. Jay R. Jordan, Houston Chronicle, "Houston man has strong words for teens who carjacked wife, crashed during pursuit," 30 June 2020 At least three officers used a side door to step out from the deck onto the sidewalk. oregonlive, "30th night of Portland protests ends in dispersal orders, munitions and use of force by police," 27 June 2020 Two lines at gates 10 and 11 of the football stadium stretched outside the concourses onto the sidewalk outside of Kroger Field for most of the day. Jon Hale, The Courier-Journal, "Lexington voters wait more than an hour in line at Kroger Field on Election Day," 23 June 2020 Moments later, that officer throws the teen, who is handcuffed, out of the car and onto the sidewalk. Abby Phillip, CNN, "New video from a witness shows Tulsa Police arresting teens for 'jaywalking'," 15 June 2020 The officers continue walking around Gugino, now on his back, as blood trickles from his head and pools onto the sidewalk. Melissa Quinn, CBS News, "Trump suggests without evidence 75-year-old man shoved to the ground by Buffalo police was a "set up"," 10 June 2020 Clay panics that the cops are onto Tyler, but Tyler tries to calm him down. Martha Sorren, refinery29.com, "13 Reasons Why," 8 June 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'onto.' 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 onto


1581, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1942, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for onto

Last Updated

5 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Onto.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/onto. Accessed 10 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for onto

How to pronounce onto (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of onto

: to a position that is on (something, such as a surface, area, or object)
: in a direction that allows you to get to or see (something)
used to say that someone knows about what someone is doing or has done
on·​to | \ ˈȯn-(ˌ)tü How to pronounce onto (audio) , ˈän- \

Kids Definition of onto

: to a position on or against I leaped onto the horse.

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More from Merriam-Webster on onto

Spanish Central: Translation of onto

Nglish: Translation of onto for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of onto for Arabic Speakers

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