\ 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

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 Follow Herald-Times IU Insider Dustin Dopirak on Twitter at @DustinDopirak or email him at DDopirak@gannett.com. Dustin Dopirak, The Indianapolis Star, 24 Jan. 2022 The video posted on Twitter showed Boebert implying that Omar was mistakenly thought to be a terrorist while at the Capitol. Ryan Tarinelli, Arkansas Online, 23 Jan. 2022 Contact Free Press arts and culture reporter Duante Beddingfield at dbeddingfield@freepress.com or follow him on Twitter @DBFreePress. Duante Beddingfield, Detroit Free Press, 23 Jan. 2022 The incident was confirmed on Twitter by Harris County Precinct 5. Lawrence Richard, Fox News, 23 Jan. 2022 El Salvador, the first country to adopt bitcoin as legal tender, purchased 410 bitcoin for $15 million Friday with the currency trading at its lowest point in six months, President Nayib Bukele announced on Twitter. Zachary Snowdon Smith, Forbes, 22 Jan. 2022 Contact him at: stalley@freepress.com or follow him on Twitter @STalleyfreep. Scott Talley, Freep.com, 22 Jan. 2022 Now Reporter Christine Fernando at cfernando@usatoday.com or follow her on Twitter at @christinetfern. Christine Fernando, USA TODAY, 22 Jan. 2022 Shore, 53, shared their final exchange on Twitter Thursday evening. Kelly Wynne, PEOPLE.com, 21 Jan. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb Early on, UConn struggled to contain St. John’s offense, allowing the Red Storm to build a 17-13 lead. Alexa Philippou, courant.com, 23 Jan. 2022 Early on in the pandemic, many potential interviewees for the film were reticent to participate, fearful of leaving their homes or taking off masks. Katie Kilkenny, The Hollywood Reporter, 21 Jan. 2022 Early on, when Lasley is still in the first flush of love, a friend tells her what a sunk-cost fallacy is. Amber Medland, The New Yorker, 19 Jan. 2022 Early on, the disease can cause symptoms that mimic the flu, according to the Mayo Clinic. Sarah Lemire, Health.com, 19 Jan. 2022 Early on in the pandemic, many restaurant workers left the industry for better paying and less hazardous work. Megan Cerullo, CBS News, 18 Jan. 2022 Early on, Alook said the Kraken reached out about a potential partnership and to ask for his help in growing the sport. oregonlive, 15 Jan. 2022 Early on, Jay asked his apprentice to go make shelves in the woods, giving him tools but no instructions. New York Times, 11 Jan. 2022 At first, the snacks were targeted toward adults: Early on, the crackers were marketed as a bar snack, said Lukin. Danielle Wiener-bronner, CNN, 10 Jan. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Sucking up all the oxygen surrounding their team and its on-field product with an increasingly hostile tone, threats to move to Las Vegas, trips to visit sites in Southern Nevada and a tone-deaf approach to public relations and wooing over skeptics. Ann Killion, San Francisco Chronicle, 2 Oct. 2021 Wander Franco returned after missing two weeks with a right hamstring injury and extended his on-base streak to 40 games with a sixth-inning walk. Mark Didtler, sun-sentinel.com, 24 Sep. 2021 Wander Franco returned after missing two weeks with a right hamstring injury and extended his on-base streak to 40 games with a sixth-inning walk. BostonGlobe.com, 24 Sep. 2021 Belt extended his hitting streak to 10 games, Kris Bryant his on-base streak to 16 games. Susan Slusser, San Francisco Chronicle, 17 Sep. 2021 Arenado said in his on-field postgame interview with Bally Sports Midwest. Bobby Nightengale, The Enquirer, 12 Sep. 2021 Rays rookie Wander Franco homered off Chris Sale, extending his on-base streak to 32 games. Mark Didtler, courant.com, 2 Sep. 2021 Wander Franco extended his on-base streak 30 games with a two-run single, fellow rookie Luis Patiño pitched neatly into the sixth inning and the AL East-leading Rays won their eighth in a row, beating Boston 6-1 Monday night. Mark Didtler, ajc, 31 Aug. 2021 Instead, an organization that only a few years prior seemed the opposite of its on-track product, slow and unchanging, responded by finding ways to keep its product in front of fans and completed its scheduled number of races. Greg Engle, Forbes, 7 Nov. 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)

Learn More About on

Time Traveler for on

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near on

Ōmura

on

ON

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for on

Last Updated

25 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“On.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/on. Accessed 27 Jan. 2022.

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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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