on
I. preposition Etymology: Middle English an, on, preposition & adverb, from Old English; akin to Old High German ana on, Greek ana up, on Date: before 12th century 1. a. — 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 ceiling
>
<
I have a cut on my finger
>
<
paint on the wall
>
c. — used as a function word to indicate position in close proximity with <
a village on the sea
>
<
stay on your opponent
>
d. — used as a function word to indicate the location of something <
on the left
>
<
on the south side of the house
>
<
on the farm
>
2. a. — used as a function word to indicate a source of attachment or support <
on a string
>
<
stand on one foot
>
<
hang it on a nail
>
b. — used as a function word to indicate a source of dependence <
you can rely on me
>
<
feeds on insects
>
<
lives 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 cue
>
<
on arriving home, I found your letter
>
<
news on the hour
>
<
cash on delivery
>
4. archaic of 5. a. — used as a function word to indicate manner of doing something; often used with the <
on the sly
>
<
keep everything on the up-and-up
>
b. — used as a function word to indicate means or agency <
cut myself on a knife
>
<
talk on the telephone
>
c. — used as a function word to indicate a medium of expression <
on stage
>
<
best show on television
>
6. a. (1) — used as a function word to indicate active involvement in a condition or status <
on the increase
>
<
on 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 tour
>
<
on the team
>
<
on 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
>
7. a. — used as a function word to indicate reason, ground, or basis (as for an action, opinion, or computation) <
I have it on good authority
>
<
on one condition
>
<
the 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 house
>
<
put the blame on me
>
8. a. — used as a function word to indicate the object of collision, opposition, or hostile action <
bumped my head on a limb
>
<
an attack on religion
>
<
pulled 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 me
>
<
a 3-game lead on the second-place team
>
<
the joke's on me
>
9. a. — used as a function word to indicate destination or the focus of some action, movement, or directed effort <
crept up on him
>
<
feast your eyes on this
>
<
working on my skiing
>
<
made a payment on the loan
>
b. — used as a function word to indicate the focus of feelings, determination, or will <
have pity on me
>
<
keen on sports
>
<
a 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 insects
>
<
reflect on that a moment
>
<
agree 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 loss
>
II. adverb Date: before 12th century 1. a. 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
>
2. a. 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
>
III. adjective Date: circa 1541 1. engaged in an activity or function (as a dramatic role) 2. a. (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 7. a. engaged in or as if in a performance <
the comedian was always on
>
b. being at a high level of performance

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • On — ([o^]n), prep. [OE. on, an, o, a, AS. on, an; akin to D. aan, OS. & G. an, OHG. ana, Icel. [=a], Sw. [*a], Goth. ana, Russ. na, L. an , in anhelare to pant, Gr. ana , Zend ana. [root]195. Cf. {A }, 1, {Ana }, {Anon}.] The general signification of …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • On — On, adv. [See {On}, prep.] 1. Forward, in progression; onward; usually with a verb of motion; as, move on; go on; the beat goes on. Time glides on. Macaulay. [1913 Webster] The path is smooth that leadeth on to danger. Shak. [1913 Webster] 2.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • ON — Pronom personnel indéfini, et des deux genres, qui indique d une manière générale une ou plusieurs personnes, et qui ne se joint jamais qu avec la troisième personne du verbe au singulier. On dit, on raconte que... On fait la guerre. Que fait on… …   Dictionnaire de l'Academie Francaise, 7eme edition (1835)

  • ON — Pronom masculin indéfini qui indique d’une manière générale une ou plusieurs personnes et qui est toujours sujet d’un verbe. On dit, on raconte que... On fait la guerre. Que fait on ici? Aussi dit on que... Prendra t on cette place? Ce qu’on aime …   Dictionnaire de l'Academie Francaise, 8eme edition (1935)

  • on — Rub Rub, v. i. 1. To move along the surface of a body with pressure; to grate; as, a wheel rubs against the gatepost. [1913 Webster] 2. To fret; to chafe; as, to rub upon a sore. [1913 Webster] 3. To move or pass with difficulty; as, to rub… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • -on — I. noun suffix Etymology: International Scientific Vocabulary, alteration of one chemical compound not a ketone or other oxo compound < parathion > II. noun suffix Etymology: from on (in ion) 1. subatomic particle < nucleon > …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • ON — or Ont abbreviation Ontario …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • On a bowline — On On ([o^]n), prep. [OE. on, an, o, a, AS. on, an; akin to D. aan, OS. & G. an, OHG. ana, Icel. [=a], Sw. [*a], Goth. ana, Russ. na, L. an , in anhelare to pant, Gr. ana , Zend ana. [root]195. Cf. {A }, 1, {Ana }, {Anon}.] The general… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • On a sudden — On On ([o^]n), prep. [OE. on, an, o, a, AS. on, an; akin to D. aan, OS. & G. an, OHG. ana, Icel. [=a], Sw. [*a], Goth. ana, Russ. na, L. an , in anhelare to pant, Gr. ana , Zend ana. [root]195. Cf. {A }, 1, {Ana }, {Anon}.] The general… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • On a wind — On On ([o^]n), prep. [OE. on, an, o, a, AS. on, an; akin to D. aan, OS. & G. an, OHG. ana, Icel. [=a], Sw. [*a], Goth. ana, Russ. na, L. an , in anhelare to pant, Gr. ana , Zend ana. [root]195. Cf. {A }, 1, {Ana }, {Anon}.] The general… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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