Definition of onto in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈɒntuː/


1 variant form of on to.
Example sentences
  • They tell me we were happy, holding each other onto the sledge as it hurtled down into the fog and white voided fields.
  • Little did I know, as I struggled onto a hugely packed tube, that the city was in total gridlock.
  • However, once the business meeting has finished I will have to venture out onto the mean streets.
2 Mathematics Expressing the relationship of a set to its image under a mapping when every element of the image set has an inverse image in the first set: [as modifier]: an onto mapping


The preposition onto written as one word (instead of on to) is recorded from the early 18th century and has been widely used ever since, but is still not wholly accepted as part of standard British English (unlike into, for example). Many style guides still advise writing it as two words, and that is the practice followed in this dictionary. However, onto is more or less the standard form in US English and in the specialized mathematics sense. Nevertheless, it is important to maintain a distinction between the preposition onto or on to and the use of the adverb on followed by the preposition to: she climbed on to (or onto) the roof but let’s go on to (not onto) the next point.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: onto

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