Main definitions of on in English

: on1ON2ON3

on1

preposition

  • 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’
    • ‘For the first time in months it would be possible to eat a meal set out on it.’
    • ‘There was a notice on the door saying that due to technical issues the shop will be closed indefinitely.’
    • ‘I was standing on a chair in front of the mirror while Mother dressed me and combed my hair.’
    • ‘Every day she eats beans on toast.’
    • ‘There were wonderful pictures on the wall.’
    • ‘There was a crystal vase filled with flowers on the table.’
    • ‘They were both sitting on the couch, looking at magazines.’
    • ‘Looking around the room I notice a computer on his desk.’
    • ‘There was a definite angle and there was no way we could sleep on it.’
    • ‘She felt his hands on her shoulders.’
    1. 1.1 Located somewhere in the general surface area of (a place)
      ‘an internment camp on the island’
      ‘the house on the corner’
      • ‘These are times I wish I had a house on the beach.’
      • ‘The only surviving Georgian house on the street was semi-derelict.’
      • ‘We buy some fresh bread from the only shop on the island.’
      • ‘There is a large prison on the moor, where more than a thousand convicts are confined.’
      • ‘He tracks them through the forest and marshlands and finally finds that they have taken refuge inside a shack on the riverbank.’
      • ‘Originally the local county councillors wanted to sell the land to build a new church on it.’
      • ‘Nearly every town on the coast and islands has an equipped marina.’
    2. 1.2 As a result of accidental physical contact with.
      ‘he banged his head on a beam’
      • ‘He banged his elbow on a marble countertop while cleaning dishes at his home.’
      • ‘He tripped on a discarded shoe box and hit his head on an open desk drawer.’
      • ‘The healthcare worker injured herself on the exposed needle.’
      • ‘She bumped her head on the ceiling.’
      • ‘While walking he stubbed his toe on a sharp rock.’
      • ‘She fell and lightly grazed her knee on the sidewalk.’
      • ‘He did his best not to cut himself on the jagged edge of the can.’
      • ‘I am glad I didn't cut myself on the broken glass.’
    3. 1.3 Supported by (a part of the body)
      ‘he was lying on his back’
      • ‘If he is lying on his front, put a pad under his forehead to extend his neck and free his airway.’
      • ‘The horse reared back on its hind legs.’
      • ‘Did you ever get concerned about your little toddler walking around on his tiptoes all the time?’
      • ‘The longest recorded duration for balancing on one foot is 76 hours 40 minutes.’
      • ‘Why do flamingos stand on one leg?’
      • ‘He asked if I wanted a drink and got down on all fours while he looked in the mini-bar.’
      • ‘Kelly underwent 11 major surgeries and spent long hours stretched out on her back, on a morphine drip.’
      supported by, resting on, in contact with
      View synonyms
    4. 1.4 On to.
      ‘put it on the table’
      • ‘He put the empty bottle on the desk.’
      • ‘I put my hand on his shoulder.’
      • ‘Put a large blob of mayonnaise on the side of the plate.’
      • ‘He dropped his bag on the floor and sat on the couch.’
      • ‘Hang your coat on the hook there and let's go to the kitchen for tea.’
      • ‘He put my resume down on his desk and rubbed the bridge of his nose.’
      • ‘I put the shopping on the passenger seat and started to drive home.’
    5. 1.5 In the possession of; being carried by.
      ‘she only had a few pounds on her’
      • ‘She had her phone on her at all times.’
      • ‘He reached into his pocket, only to discover that he didn't have his wallet on him.’
      • ‘I'll treat you to lunch, but I only have 20 dollars on me.’
      • ‘If they do not have any money on them, the police take them to the police station.’
      • ‘I'll give you my agent's number, but I don't have it on me right now.’
  • 2Forming a distinctive or marked part of the surface of.

    ‘a scratch on her arm’
    ‘a smile on her face’
    • ‘In the examining room, Dr. O'Brien was silent as he looked at the mole on her leg.’
    • ‘He had an angry look on his face.’
    • ‘My son has a bruise on his forehead.’
    • ‘I've got a nasty scratch on my car.’
    • ‘The bag is black with a white cross on it, and contained a brown purse and gold loop earrings.’
    • ‘The oil made a dark stain on the carpet.’
    • ‘I looked in the mirror and noticed a mark on my chest.’
    • ‘The bike had a black seat with a white stripe on it, a white rim round the wheels and orange pedals.’
    • ‘We had to identify him by one of his trainers and a schoolbag with his name on it.’
    • ‘She made Eric a cake with a cow on it as a leaving gift.’
  • 3Having (the thing mentioned) as a topic; about.

    ‘a book on careers’
    • ‘A very interesting conversation on language and writing ensued.’
    • ‘I watched a show last night on advances in forensic science.’
    • ‘The details on side effects are listed in Table 2 of the online supplement.’
    • ‘An Australian film crew were making a documentary on Asian footballers who play in Europe.’
    • ‘I want to write a book on how to eat properly.’
    • ‘After I began writing this article, a passionate debate on the same subject erupted in an online discussion forum.’
    • ‘I attempted to understand the articles on cricket but failed miserably.’
    regarding, concerning, with reference to, referring to, with regard to, with respect to, respecting, relating to, on, touching on, dealing with, relevant to, with relevance to, connected with, in connection with, on the subject of, in the matter of, apropos, re
    View synonyms
    1. 3.1 Having (the thing mentioned) as a basis.
      ‘a constitution modelled on America's’
      • ‘Traditional Cambridge colleges, modelled on monastic cloisters, consist of courts surrounded by walls of individual rooms.’
      • ‘The lame argument for using this datum is that some of the paper maps were based on it.’
      • ‘How often they remove the snow is dependant on the weather.’
      • ‘There are many ways to make iced tea, and countless variations on the basic recipe.’
      • ‘The film is based on a true story.’
      • ‘If you need a prototype built on a new design, we can handle it.’
      • ‘On their advice I sold most of my shares.’
  • 4As a member of (a committee, jury, or other body)

    ‘they would be allowed to serve on committees’
    • ‘I wish all the people on the committee well as there are some good and willing people on it.’
    • ‘She sits on a number of high-profile advisory groups.’
    • ‘She served on many advisory councils and boards.’
    • ‘A large proportion of members are unwilling to consider serving on the board.’
    • ‘He was on several committees and was a former Lord Mayor.’
    • ‘I knew he was on the jury but did not talk to him about it.’
  • 5Having (the thing mentioned) as a target, aim, or focus.

    ‘five air raids on Schweinfurt’
    ‘thousands marching on Washington’
    ‘her eyes were fixed on his dark profile’
    • ‘The police descended on the premises in large numbers.’
    • ‘Armed raiders escaped with around €20,000 during a daring raid on a busy hotel in west Dublin early yesterday morning.’
    • ‘The priest, to my surprise, launched into a verbal assault on me.’
    • ‘The colourful protest marched on the Scottish Parliament.’
    • ‘They never actually engaged in close combat by firing on the enemy.’
    • ‘They're planning an attack on the city.’
  • 6(often followed by a noun without a determiner) having (the thing mentioned) as a medium for transmitting or storing information.

    ‘put your ideas down on paper’
    ‘stored on the client's own computer’
    • ‘I was taught in college that one ought to figure out a program completely on paper before even going near a computer.’
    • ‘It's not as if the ready availability of rock music on CD stops people going to rock concerts.’
    • ‘Operations are routinely recorded on video tape for teaching purposes.’
    • ‘I have the whole series on tape.’
    • ‘I spent a lot time driving and listening to books on tape.’
    • ‘The data on the hard drive may still be salvageable.’
    • ‘The amount of new information stored on paper, film, magnetic and optical media has roughly doubled in the last three years.’
    • ‘All of these films are available in restored, good quality editions and most are now available on DVD.’
    • ‘Marc used to say ‘If it's not on the Internet, it doesn't exist.’’
    1. 6.1 Being broadcast by (a radio or television channel)
      ‘a new twelve-part TV series on Channel 4’
      • ‘I enjoyed the show when it aired on MTV.’
      • ‘The animated short film The Snowman was a huge success when it appeared on Channel 4 in 1982.’
      • ‘He is branching out into work as a television presenter, with his own science programme on the Discovery Channel.’
      • ‘The show will be broadcast on CBS on December 26th.’
      • ‘One of my favourite sketch shows is being repeated on radio four at the moment.’
      • ‘She now presents religious and travel programmes on BBC TV.’
      • ‘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’
    • ‘I felt really lonely in the car on the drive home.’
    • ‘I'm on my way right now.’
    • ‘During a quiet moment on the expedition, Emma gazes at the Surrey landscape spread out before her.’
    • ‘You'll see all manner of birdlife on the journey to the only tented camp in the National Park.’
    • ‘I stopped to pick up a gallon of milk on my way home from work.’
    • ‘Her symptoms grew increasingly bad during the two-week holiday and her leg became very painful on the trip back to Manchester.’
    1. 7.1 While travelling in (a public vehicle)
      ‘John got some sleep on the plane’
      • ‘I read and wrote on the plane home.’
      • ‘I picked up a copy of the magazine to read on the plane this week.’
      • ‘The music scene was full of underfed, hard working guys who wrote songs on the bus or in motel rooms.’
      • ‘On the boat back to Europe he basically stayed in his room and drank.’
      • ‘The boys fall asleep on the train.’
      • ‘They both had their knapsacks stolen on the train.’
      • ‘On the ferry over I talked to some American missionaries helping with the relief effort.’
    2. 7.2 On to (a public vehicle) with the intention of travelling in it.
      ‘we got on the train’
      • ‘As our conductor hollered we ran and clambered on the bus back home.’
      • ‘I got on the bus and went into New York.’
      • ‘We were among the last to get on the coach and had to take whatever seats were left.’
      • ‘I had a great deal of apprehension getting on the plane to fly to Japan.’
      • ‘From here you can pick up a rowing boat or hop on the ferry.’
      • ‘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’
    • ‘They will be married on her birthday.’
    • ‘On Saturday night we went to a football match.’
    • ‘Napoleon died on the evening of 5 May 1821.’
    • ‘The idea of allowing employees to dress down on the final day of the week seemed completely harmless to most observers.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The children of employees join their parents for a day at the office on Christmas Eve.’
    • ‘He had been forced to use his bicycle to get to work because his car had broken down on the morning of the accident.’
    1. 8.1 At the time of.
      ‘she was booed on arriving home’
      • ‘On closing the door she wondered if she had imagined the smirk on his face.’
      • ‘On arrival, please sign in at the registration table.’
      • ‘The team was given a great reception on arrival back in Swinford with the Cup.’
      • ‘The first thing I saw on entering was a life-size model of a heron standing on a counter.’
      • ‘On returning to his house three weeks later, he was arrested and taken to Newgate prison.’
      • ‘Rowena was surprised to find, on walking into the meeting room at the hotel, that most of her co-workers had already arrived.’
      • ‘On his return to Italy in 1945, he abandoned medicine in favour of painting.’
      • ‘He had a commission in the RAF and on leaving in 1990 he joined the Territorial Army.’
  • 9Engaged in.

    ‘his attendant was out on errands’
    • ‘When you're on vacation or at an out-of-town seminar, go to the local galleries.’
    • ‘I was working in Los Angeles on assignment.’
    • ‘Susan was called out of town on business.’
    • ‘We were trained never to stand still when we were out on patrol.’
    • ‘I thought you were on guard duty today.’
    • ‘She had been on leave caring for a sick child.’
    • ‘When you are on operations it is always nice to receive packages from home.’
    • ‘Jim's just been on holiday in Scotland.’
  • 10Regularly taking (a drug or medicine)

    ‘he is on morphine to relieve the pain’
    • ‘Is it safe for her to be on antibiotics for so long?’
    • ‘Sometime around January my girlfriend went on the pill.’
    • ‘My Mum and Dad were on heroin before I was born.’
    • ‘He had been put on prescription drugs to help him cope with coming off crack.’
    • ‘I'm happier than I was three years ago, when I was drinking and I was on cocaine.’
    • ‘Her son had been on drugs for nine years and was desperate to get rid of the habit.’
    • ‘Since I started working out, I don't have to be on prescription drugs any more.’
    • ‘These days I take five pills a day, but at one point I was on about 20.’
    • ‘I was on heavy duty painkillers for 48 hours.’
    • ‘I was on about sixty cigarettes a day.’
  • 11Paid for by.

    ‘the drinks are on me’
    • ‘Congratulations guys; the champagne's on us!’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘They are already praising you for being ‘such a gentleman’ and promising next time the treat's on them!’
    • ‘Order what you want from any menu. It's all on the house.’
  • 12Added to.

    ‘a few pence on the electricity bill is nothing compared with your security’
    • ‘A few pence on your bid price because you can afford to pay more for it, moves you into maybe the top three positions.’
    • ‘We can put another $50 on the course fees.’
    • ‘Your friend will receive a 50% deposit bonus up to $50 in bonus dollars on his initial deposit for participating in the program.’
    • ‘It's all too easy to agree to an extra few pounds on the bill, but that could be costly mistake.’
    • ‘One hundred pounds a year extra on the insurance is not a lot at all.’

adverb

  • 1Physically in contact with and supported by a surface.

    ‘make sure the lid is on’
    • ‘He put the tops on and sealed both glass bottles.’
    • ‘I glued them on and allowed the glue to cure before continuing.’
    • ‘Ben had to come in and help me put the sheets on.’
    • ‘Rinse them in hot water and screw on the lids.’
    • ‘Once the roof was on, the basic structure of the house was completed.’
    • ‘Can I get into the car when the cover is on?’
    1. 1.1 (of clothing) being worn by a person.
      ‘sitting with her coat on’
      • ‘‘What did she have on?’ I asked. ‘A pink top and a blue-jean skirt,’ he said.’
      • ‘They all put their jackets on and headed down the driveway.’
      • ‘My feet were huge by now and I couldn't get my boots on.’
      • ‘He answered the door and just had a dressing gown on.’
      • ‘The doctor harumped and shoved his hat on.’
      • ‘In the fitting rooms I slipped on the dress and gasped with pleasure.’
      • ‘With my glasses on I can read signs very far away.’
      • ‘He hastily pulled on his trousers.’
  • 2Indicating continuation of a movement or action.

    ‘she burbled on’
    ‘he drove on’
    ‘and so on’
    • ‘She waited a few moments, and then walked on.’
    • ‘To learn how you can build muscle while you sleep, read on!’
    • ‘She cycled on, through the winding streets of the village to the graveyard beside the old stone church.’
    • ‘They ran on, and eventually came into a long hallway.’
    • ‘I started competing at 16 and carried on until I was 35.’
    • ‘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.’
    interminably, at length, for a long time, continuously, endlessly, ceaselessly, without a break, without a pause
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1 Further forward; in an advanced state.
      ‘I'll see you later on’
      ‘time's getting on’
      • ‘From that moment on, his career as an artist seemed certain.’
      • ‘Later on, the house was subdivided into seven apartments.’
      • ‘A year on, most have returned to their previous lives.’
      • ‘It's getting on. I suppose I'd best get back.’
      • ‘Nearly three months on, some of the building work is still not complete.’
      • ‘I will discuss this in greater depth later on.’
      • ‘I need to lock the door, now the evening's drawing on.’
      onward, onwards, forth, forwards
      View synonyms
  • 3(of an event) taking place or being presented.

    ‘what's on at the May Festival’
    ‘there's a good film on this afternoon’
    • ‘I wonder what's on at the movies tonight.’
    • ‘There's a war on, and everybody has to make sacrifices.’
    • ‘For younger theatre-goers, Goldilocks and the Three Bears will be on at St George's Hall.’
    • ‘He flipped through the channels and couldn't find anything good on.’
    • ‘The opera festival was on and that helped to create good passing trade.’
    • ‘The exhibition ‘Accessories from the Royal Wardrobe’ is on at Kensington Palace State Apartments until April 18 2004.’
    • ‘The same problem always happens when the fair is on.’
    • ‘Ms Rushton's review of Hicks' artwork, which is on at Abbot Hall until March 9, was entitled A Festival of Sculpture, Drawing and Light.’
    • ‘Turner, Whistler and Monet is on at Tate Britain until the 15th of May, tickets are £10.’
    • ‘The City Theatre has a new play on.’
    • ‘The exhibition is on until September 17.’
    1. 3.1 Due to take place as planned.
      ‘the match is still on’
      • ‘Ok guys, the party's on!’
      • ‘Every time I try and go to a pub quiz, it's not on for some reason.’
      • ‘They decided not to have an election. Now it's on again.’
      • ‘Our carnival is definitely still on!’
      • ‘I thought you cancelled? Is it on or what?’
      • ‘Are we still on for that drink in July?’
  • 4(of an electrical appliance or power supply) functioning.

    ‘they always left the lights on’
    • ‘I need an appliance which is not expensive to run, and which can be switched on and off as needed.’
    • ‘In Cleveland, the power is on, but residents are asked to boil their drinking water.’
    • ‘Soon more and more houses will have their electricity on, and life will get back to normal.’
    • ‘Food in a refrigerator stays fresh while the power is on, but turns into a disorderly mess if there is no energy being supplied from the mains.’
    • ‘Parents often keep the television on while feeding, dressing, or playing with their children.’
    • ‘From time to time the lights go on and off in the auditorium, while the actors continue to perform.’
    • ‘The tape player sat on the floor of my bedsit in Bromley, and I used to turn it on and off with my foot.’
    • ‘There is no movement other than a slight change in the shadows as some neon sign far below flicks on and off.’
    • ‘He'd also became fond of switching lights on and off to the point where it was almost an obsession.’
    • ‘My dad turned the radio on and proceeded to restlessly channel-surf.’
    • ‘He doesn't know how to turn on the washing machine.’
    • ‘He asks whether he should spend his time between fog patches switching his lights on and off.’
    • ‘By the time the game ended, the lights were on at Fullcast Stadium and the bright sun had dipped behind some clouds.’
    • ‘The chef had forgotten to put the oven on.’
    functioning, in operation, working, in use, operating
    View synonyms
  • 5(of a performer) on stage.

    • ‘I was thinking I might get bored then the lead actor came on.’
    • ‘That's your cue. You're on.’
    • ‘Come on girls, you are on in five minutes.’
    • ‘Each time she was to perform, Lynn suffered such dread that she was always too sick to go on.’
    • ‘She is on for the first 19 minutes of the show.’
    • ‘His understudy had to go on for Act II.’
    1. 5.1 (of an employee) working; on duty.
      • ‘I took midnight to 4am and he was on until 8am.’
      • ‘Abby explains she's on all day as a medical student.’
      • ‘This past weekend was my weekend on, so I really couldn't get away from work properly.’
      • ‘My Nurse Manager mailed me my schedule and I'm on every Saturday.’
      • ‘I'm on until we close, probably around four in the morning if the crowd keeps up like this.’

noun

  • The leg side.

    • ‘Two balls later, he pulled the same bowler to the on-side for another single.’
    • ‘This forced the spinners to bowl a straighter line, and gave him access to the less-protected on side whenever they erred in length.’
    • ‘Playing a ball pitched on the off stump to the on side was satisfying.’
    • ‘Bradman reached 50 in ninety-three minutes by forcing a ball from Allen to the on for four.’
    • ‘He bowled too many loose deliveries down the on side, to batsmen who were strong off their legs, and much of the batting left a lot to be desired.’

Phrases

  • be on about

    • Talk about tediously and at length.

      ‘she's always on about doing one's duty’
      • ‘I am one of these people on a low income she is on about.’
      • ‘I told him I didn't know what he was on about.’
      • ‘Needless to say, no-one had a clue what I was on about.’
      • ‘When I first arrived out here and started yapping on about a film festival, people didn't know what I 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.’
      • ‘Our Prime Minister is on about how political correctness is harming free speech and opinion.’
      • ‘Half of them texted me back wondering what on earth I was on about.’
      • ‘I might head back home watch that video your brother was on about.’
      • ‘Most people watching thought the debates a big bore and could not recall what the candidates were on about.’
      • ‘She was the only person on board who could always understand what he was on about.’
  • be on at someone

    • informal Nag or grumble at someone.

      • ‘My Mum has been on at me for ages to do something ‘major’ to celebrate this particular milestone.’
      • ‘He has been on at me to try and find out who they might have belonged to.’
      • ‘My boss has been on at me all day.’
      • ‘The fans have been on at me for ages to write my own stuff.’
      • ‘At the British team hotel, where several of the squad sport some outlandishly coloured haircuts, they have been on at him to dye his hair again.’
      • ‘My mother had been on at me for some time to try Body Stress Release for my backache.’
      • ‘The church group has recently been on at me to get back there, to start leading out in various things again, or to meet up with them here and there.’
      • ‘I considered doing this project that the telly people have been on at me to do - a history of the 20th century novel.’
      • ‘People have been on at me for the last five or six weeks, telling me to look at the big picture.’
      • ‘He radiates fitness and has been on at me for some time to join him on these early morning marches.’
  • it's not on

    • informal It's impractical or unacceptable.

      • ‘I'm not just saying this for us, but the park is for everyone and it's not on.’
      • ‘We could have this problem every day for the next year and it's not on.’
      • ‘I know the prime minister's advisors read this site before setting policy, so I'm saying now, it's not on.’
      • ‘The woman sat opposite moaned - it's not on, calling ‘Last Orders' early.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It's not on having hundreds of kids running wild all day.’
      • ‘I would be the first to agree it's not on, but I'm trying to get something done about it.’
      • ‘‘I want to make it really clear, before they even start to discuss it, that it's not on,’ she said.’
      • ‘They fall out on the street at 6 or 7 in the morning and disturb all the residents, it's not on.’
  • on and off

    • Intermittently.

      ‘it rained on and off most of the afternoon’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I have been temping on and off but my overdraft stubbornly refuses to get smaller.’
      • ‘I smoke on and off now, but I don't drink much and have made a lot of changes to my diet.’
      • ‘Simon had worked in the business on and off since childhood.’
      • ‘Her husband had connections with the property and may have lived there on and off.’
      • ‘She suffered from depression on and off since she was young and masked her emotions very well.’
      • ‘He is thought to have worked on and off as a government spy for the rest of his life.’
      • ‘I was warned that the most common side effect was a cough and over the past week or so I've had one on and off.’
      • ‘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.’
  • on and on

    • Continually; at tedious length.

      ‘he went on and on about his grandad's trombone’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘During one hot summer, Lisa kept on and on about wanting to go swimming.’
      • ‘The UN negotiations drag on and on as the international community weakens and loses interest.’
      • ‘The teacher droned on and on about local history.’
      • ‘I tried to make a big show of looking away from the screen till it was over, but the scene went on and on.’
      • ‘He rambled on and on about how different brands compared to others.’
      • ‘He sat down with James in his lap, listening to the little boy babble on and on.’
      • ‘She took the phone and talked on and on without holding the steering wheel.’
      • ‘He was going on and on in his speech about safety at reasonable cost.’
      for a long time, for ages, for hours, at length, at great length, incessantly, ceaselessly, constantly, continuously, continually, endlessly, unendingly, eternally, forever
      View synonyms
  • on it

    • informal Drinking heavily.

      • ‘He knew how drink affected Brand, and he muttered to his wife, ‘He's on it proper to day.’’
      • ‘‘They reckon Groggy's on it again,’ observed Tommy.’
  • on for young and old

    • informal (of a battle, argument, party, etc.) characterized by the participants' lack of inhibition or restraint.

      ‘if he'd been there when he insulted her it would've been on for young and old’
      • ‘I remember detectives drinking like fish at the bar and then getting called out to an armed incident and it was all on for young and old.’
      • ‘It's all on for young and old in the blogosphere.’
      • ‘A couple of months extra waiting will not hurt, it will be on for young and old soon enough.’
      • ‘Godwin had the hero towed to the moon by a flock of swans, and after that, it was on for young and old with all sorts of graphic descriptions of travel between worlds.’
      • ‘They spelt it out on the evening news, telling of the e-mail proving everything, and after that it was on for young and old alike.’
      • ‘Steph doesn't want to hear it, and she tries to leave, but Boyd enters the house and it's on for young and old.’
      • ‘The trolls came out of the woodwork and it was on for young and old.’
      • ‘It was on for young and old, pretty much to the end of the session.’
      • ‘I've never known a young woman who knew such language and I thought for a moment it was going to be all on for young and old.’
      • ‘Within a couple of songs, however, the dancing on the bar is on for young and old.’
  • on with

    • informal Having a romantic relationship with (someone)

      ‘she's always ringing Jack, and I think she's on with him’
      • ‘"My girlfriend's on with another bloke."’
      • ‘She is on with him again.’
      • ‘She doesn't know, it seems to me, whether she's on with him or off with him.’
      • ‘That floozy in the house, I bet he's on with her already.’
      • ‘She had just left her husband who was on with her best friend.’
      • ‘When he's on with a girl he's as cool as a clubman.’
      • ‘He's on with this absolute glam babe at the moment.’
  • what are you on?

    • informal Said to express incredulity at someone's behaviour, with the implication that they must be under the influence of drugs.

      ‘‘What were you on when you made that track, man?’’
      • ‘I stopped and looked at them as they stared and Shannon said, ‘what are you on?’’
      • ‘For god's sake Holly, what are you on?’
      • ‘You are getting creepier and more paranoid than normal… what are you on?’
      • ‘Dude, what are you on? Are you still loaded?’
      • ‘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.

      • ‘‘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.’
      • ‘I think about it for a moment and I tell him ‘OK, you're on. I'll take your bet.’’
      • ‘If you mean it, you're on! There's lots I could do with three hundred quid.’
      • ‘You're on. You come up with a good enough prize for me to win, and I'll be happy to take your bet.’
      • ‘Make it £5 and you're on.’
      agreed, settled, all right, very well, that's a bargain, accepted, right
      View synonyms

Origin

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

Pronunciation

on

/ɒn/

Main definitions of on in English

: on1ON2ON3

ON2

  • Ontario (in official postal use).

Main definitions of on in English

: on1ON2ON3

ON3

  • Old Norse.