There are 3 definitions of ON in English:


Syllabification: ON


  • Ontario (in official postal use).

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Definition of ON in:

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Word of the day astrogation
Pronunciation: ˌastrəˈgāSHən
(in science fiction) navigation in outer space

There are 3 definitions of ON in English:


Syllabification: ON


  • Old Norse.

More definitions of ON

Definition of ON in:

There are 3 definitions of ON in English:


Syllabification: on
Pronunciation: /än, ôn


  • 1Physically in contact with and supported by (a surface): on the table was a water jug she was lying on the floor a sign on the front gate
    More example sentences
    • There was a crystal vase filled with flowers on the table.
    • I was standing on a chair in front of the mirror while Mother dressed me and combed my hair.
    • She felt his hands on her shoulders.
  • 1.1Located somewhere in the general surface area of (a place): an internment camp on the island the house on the corner
    More example sentences
    • Nearly every town on the coast and islands has an equipped marina.
    • The only surviving Georgian house on the street was semi-derelict.
    • He tracks them through the forest and marshlands and finally finds that they have taken refuge inside a shack on the riverbank.
    so as to be resting on, on to, onto, to the (upper) surface
  • 1.2As a result of accidental physical contact with: one of the children had cut a foot on some glass he banged his head on a beam
    More example sentences
    • While walking he stubbed his toe on a sharp rock.
    • I am glad I didn't cut myself on the broken glass.
    • He did his best not to cut himself on the jagged edge of the can.
  • 1.3Supported by (a part of the body): he was lying on his back
    More example sentences
    • Kelly underwent 11 major surgeries and spent long hours stretched out on her back, on a morphine drip.
    • Why do flamingos stand on one leg?
    • The longest recorded duration for balancing on one foot is 76 hours 40 minutes.
    resting on, supported by, resting atop, touching the (upper) surface of
  • 1.4So as to be supported or held by: put it on the table
    More example sentences
    • He put the empty bottle on the desk.
    • I put my hand on his shoulder.
    • Hang your coat on the hook there and let's go to the kitchen for tea.
  • 1.5In the possession of (the person referred to): she only had a few dollars on her
    More example sentences
    • He reached into his pocket, only to discover that he didn't have his wallet on him.
    • I'll give you my agent's number, but I don't have it on me right now.
    • If they do not have any money on them, the police take them to the police station.
  • 2Forming a distinctive or marked part of (the surface of something): a scratch on her arm a smile on her face
    More example sentences
    • I looked in the mirror and noticed a mark on my chest.
    • My son has a bruise on his forehead.
    • I've got a nasty scratch on my car.
  • 3Having (the thing mentioned) as a topic: a book on careers essays on a wide range of issues
    More example sentences
    • The details on side effects are listed in Table 2 of the online supplement.
    • I attempted to understand the articles on cricket but failed miserably.
    • I want to write a book on how to eat properly.
  • 3.1Having (the thing mentioned) as a basis: modeled on the Mayflower Compact dependent on availability
    More example sentences
    • The film is based on a true story.
    • How often they remove the snow is dependant on the weather.
    • Traditional Cambridge colleges, modelled on monastic cloisters, consist of courts surrounded by walls of individual rooms.
  • 4As a member of (a committee, jury, or other body): they would be allowed to serve on committees
    More example sentences
    • I knew he was on the jury but did not talk to him about it.
    • He was on several committees and was a former Lord Mayor.
    • She served on many advisory councils and boards.
  • 5Having (the thing mentioned) as a target, aim, or focus: five air raids on the city thousands marching on Washington her eyes were fixed on his dark profile
    More example sentences
    • They're planning an attack on the city.
    • The colourful protest marched on the Scottish Parliament.
    • They never actually engaged in close combat by firing on the enemy.
  • 6Having (the thing mentioned) as a medium for transmitting or storing information: put your ideas down on paper stored on the client’s own computer
    More example sentences
    • All of these films are available in restored, good quality editions and most are now available on DVD.
    • I spent a lot time driving and listening to books on tape.
    • I have the whole series on tape.
  • 6.1Being broadcast by (a radio or television channel): a new TV series on Channel 4
    More example sentences
    • One of my favourite sketch shows is being repeated on radio four at the moment.
    • The show will be broadcast on CBS on December 26th.
    • He is transfixed by footage of riots showing on Sky News.
  • 7In the course of (a journey): he was on his way to see his mother
    More example sentences
    • I stopped to pick up a gallon of milk on my way home from work.
    • I'm on my way right now.
    • Her symptoms grew increasingly bad during the two-week holiday and her leg became very painful on the trip back to Manchester.
  • 7.1While traveling in (a public conveyance): John got some sleep on the plane
    More example sentences
    • I picked up a copy of the magazine to read on the plane this week.
    • They both had their knapsacks stolen on the train.
    • The boys fall asleep on the train.
  • 7.2Onto (a public conveyance) with the intention of traveling in it: we got on the train
    More example sentences
    • I had a great deal of apprehension getting on the plane to fly to Japan.
    • Peg and Matt enjoy being able to hop on the train to Chicago to go to a lecture or eat at a trendy restaurant.
    • I met him for the first time three weeks ago, when we climbed on the buses to head out to our units.
  • 8Indicating the day or part of a day during which an event takes place: reported on September 26 on a very hot evening in July
    More example sentences
    • On the first Monday following Twelfth Night, the corn dolly would be ploughed back into the soil so that its spirit would be released and ensure a good harvest.
    • Despite the protests, the secrecy of proceedings and the bitter collapse of talks on the last day, progress was made.
    • On Saturday night we went to a football match.
  • 8.1At the time of: she was booed on arriving home
    More example sentences
    • Rowena was surprised to find, on walking into the meeting room at the hotel, that most of her co-workers had already arrived.
    • He had a commission in the RAF and on leaving in 1990 he joined the Territorial Army.
    • The team was given a great reception on arrival back in Swinford with the Cup.
  • 9Engaged in: his attendant was out on errands
    More example sentences
    • Susan was called out of town on business.
    • Jim's just been on holiday in Scotland.
    • She had been on leave caring for a sick child.
  • 10Regularly taking (a drug or medicine): he is on morphine to relieve the pain
    More example sentences
    • I was on heavy duty painkillers for 48 hours.
    • Is it safe for her to be on antibiotics for so long?
    • Her son had been on drugs for nine years and was desperate to get rid of the habit.
  • 11Paid for by: the drinks are on me
    More example sentences
    • Order what you want from any menu. It's all on the house.
    • The football tickets for the match tomorrow are on you! I'll buy the drinks!
    • If ever we're in the same city, dinner's on me.
  • 12Added to: a few cents on the electric bill is nothing compared with your security
    More example sentences
    • One hundred pounds a year extra on the insurance is not a lot at all.
    • It's all too easy to agree to an extra few pounds on the bill, but that could be costly mistake.
    • We can put another $50 on the course fees.


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  • 1Physically in contact with and supported by a surface: make sure the lid is on
    More example sentences
    • Can I get into the car when the cover is on?
    • He put the tops on and sealed both glass bottles.
    • Rinse them in hot water and screw on the lids.
  • 1.1(Of clothing) being worn by a person: sitting with her coat on get your shoes on
    More example sentences
    • They all put their jackets on and headed down the driveway.
    • With my glasses on I can read signs very far away.
    • ‘What did she have on?’ I asked. ‘A pink top and a blue-jean skirt,’ he said.
  • 2Indicating continuation of a movement or action: she burbled on he drove on and so on
    More example sentences
    • They ran on, and eventually came into a long hallway.
    • We started at seven in the morning, worked on without a break until twelve, then, after an hour for lunch, continued again until half-past five.
    • I started competing at 16 and carried on until I was 35.
  • 2.1Further forward; in an advanced state: later on time’s getting on
    More example sentences
    • I need to lock the door, now the evening's drawing on.
    • A year on, most have returned to their previous lives.
    • Nearly three months on, some of the building work is still not complete.
  • 3(Of an entertainment or other event) taking place or being presented: what’s on at the festival there’s a good film on this afternoon
    More example sentences
    • The City Theatre has a new play on.
    • There's a war on, and everybody has to make sacrifices.
    • I wonder what's on at the movies tonight.
  • 3.1Due to take place as planned: the reorganization is still on
    More example sentences
    • They decided not to have an election. Now it's on again.
    • Ok guys, the party's on!
    • Are we still on for that drink in July?
  • 4(Of an electrical appliance or power supply) functioning: they always left the lights on
    More example sentences
    • My dad turned the radio on and proceeded to restlessly channel-surf.
    • Soon more and more houses will have their electricity on, and life will get back to normal.
    • Parents often keep the television on while feeding, dressing, or playing with their children.
    functioning, in operation, working, in use, operating
  • 4.1(Of a performer, etc.) broadcasting or acting.
    More example sentences
    • I never know who's on at Glastonbury.
    • At one point Chris stubbed his toe, and, in pain turned to me and said, ‘you'll have to go on instead.’
    • We were in this band, right? We were on at the Roundhouse with Pink Floyd.
  • 4.2(Of an employee) working.
    More example sentences
    • I took midnight to 4am and he was on until 8am.
    • I'm on until we close, probably around four in the morning if the crowd keeps up like this.
    • Abby explains she's on all day as a medical student.


be on about

British informal Talk about tediously and at length: she’s always on about doing one’s duty
More example sentences
  • She was the only person on board who could always understand what he was on about.
  • He talked a lot about the virtues of tolerance and fair play, but nobody had a clue what he was on about.
  • Half of them texted me back wondering what on earth I was on about.

it's not on

informal , chiefly British It’s impractical or unacceptable.
More example sentences
  • It doesn't matter whether the offenders are over 75 or under ten, if they make a nuisance of themselves - it's not on.
  • I would just ask the culprits to remember that a lot of people have worked hard to obtain funding for this facility, and that it's not on for them to go around wrecking it just because they are bored.
  • The woman sat opposite moaned - it's not on, calling ‘Last Orders' early.

on and off

Intermittently: it rained on and off most of the afternoon
More example sentences
  • Most days have had fairly heavy rain on and off so we have not been able to get out in the garden to tidy up.
  • There's a girl at work who's been sick on and off over the past few weeks.
  • I lived there on and off for five years, leaving it for the last time in 1977 and moving on.

on and on

Continually; at tedious length: he went on and on about his grandad’s trombone
More example sentences
  • The whole show dragged on and on seemingly forever.
  • But too many suspensions cases have dragged on and on, wasting large sums of taxpayers' money.
  • I tried to make a big show of looking away from the screen till it was over, but the scene went on and on.
for a long time, for ages, for hours, at (great) length, incessantly, ceaselessly, constantly, continuously, continually, endlessly, unendingly, eternally, forever, interminably, unremittingly, relentlessly, indefatigably, without letup, without a pause/break, without cease

what are you on?

informal Said to express incredulity at someone’s behavior, with the implication that they must be under the influence of drugs.
More example sentences
  • You are getting creepier and more paranoid than normal… what are you on?
  • I stopped and looked at them as they stared and Shannon said, ‘what are you on?’
  • Ma, its four in the morning, what are you on? Did you overdose on painkillers again?

you're on

informal Said by way of accepting a challenge or bet.
More example sentences
  • If you mean it, you're on! There's lots I could do with three hundred quid.
  • ‘A bottle of tequila says we find it in less than a week,’ Liz said. ‘Make it two, and you're on,’ Isabel said, shaking her hand.
  • Make it £5 and you're on.


Old English on, an, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch aan and German an, from an Indo-European root shared by Greek ana.

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Definition of on in: