see also: ON
Pronunciation Adjective

on (not comparable)

  1. In the state of being active, functioning or operating.
  2. Performing according to schedule; taking place.
    Are we still on for tonight?
    Is the show still on?
    We had to ration our food because there was a war on.
  3. (chiefly, UK, informal, usually negative) Acceptable, appropriate.
    You can't do that; it's just not on.
    • 1998 May 22, "Phoenix Gamma", If I was owned Nintendo..., alt.games.video.nintendo-64:
      This kind of over-packaging of goods is completely not on.
    • 2003 August 12, "DAB sounds worse than FM", Gerg Dyke's Speech at Radio Festival, alt.radio.digital:
      so Simon Nelson saying on Feedback "we'd prefer it if everybody listened to digital radio via DAB" is completely not on at all.
  4. (informal) Destined, normally in the context of a challenge being accepted; involved, doomed.
    "Five bucks says the Cavs win tonight." ―"You're on!"
    Mike just threw coffee onto Paul's lap. It's on now.
  5. (baseball, informal) Having reached a base as a runner and being positioned there, awaiting further action from a subsequent batter.
  6. (euphemistic) Menstruating.
  • (baseball: positioned at a base) base (not informal)
Translations Translations Adverb

on (not comparable)

  1. To an operating state.
    turn the television on
  2. Along, forwards (continuing an action).
    drive on, rock on
  3. In continuation, at length.
    and so on.
    He rambled on and on.
  4. (cricket) In, or towards the half of the field on the same side as the batsman's legs; the left side for a right-handed batsman; leg.
  5. (obsolete in the US) Later.
    Ten years on, nothing had changed in the village.
  6. Of betting odds, denoting a better than even chance. See also odds-on.
    That horse is at twenty-to-one on, so you need to stake twenty pounds just to win one pound.
Antonyms Translations Translations Translations Preposition
  1. Positioned at the upper surface of, touching from above.
    on the table;  on the couch
    The parrot was sitting on Jim's shoulder.
    • I stood on the bridge at midnight.
  2. At or near; adjacent to.
    Soon we'll pass a statue on the left.
    The fleet is on the American coast.
    Croton-on-Hudson, Rostov-on-Don, Southend-on-Sea
  3. Covering.
    He wore old shoes on his feet.
  4. At the date of.
    Born on the 4th of July.
  5. Some time during the day of.
    I'll see you on Monday.  The bus leaves on Friday.  Can I see you on a different day? On Sunday I'm busy.
  6. Dealing with the subject of, about, or concerning something.
    A book on history.  The World Summit on the Information Society.
    • 1869 May, Anthony Trollope, “Lady Milborough as Ambassador”, in He Knew He Was Right, volume I, London: Strahan and Company, publishers, […], OCLC 1118026626 ↗, page 85 ↗:
      [...] I received a note from that gentleman on a most trivial matter. I answered it as trivially.
  7. Touching; hanging from.
    The fruit ripened on the trees.  The painting hangs on the wall.
  8. (informal) In the possession of.
    I haven't got any money on me.
  9. Because of, or due to.
    To arrest someone on suspicion of bribery.  To contact someone on a hunch.
  10. Upon; at the time of (and often because of).
    On Jack's entry, William got up to leave.
    On the addition of ammonia, a chemical reaction begins.
  11. Paid for by.
    The drinks are on me tonight, boys.  The meal is on the house.  I paid for the airfare and meals for my family, but the hotel room was on the company.
  12. Used to indicate a means or medium.
    I saw it on television.  Can't you see I'm on the phone?  My favorite shows are on BBC America.  The Beatles appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show is on YouTube.  The film was released on DVD.
  13. Indicating a means of subsistence.
    They lived on ten dollars a week.  The dog survived three weeks on rainwater.
  14. Away or occupied with (e.g. a scheduled activity).
    He's on his lunch break.  on vacation;  on holiday
  15. Denoting performance or action by contact with the surface, upper part, or outside of anything; hence, by means of; with.
    to play on a violin or piano
    Her words made a lasting impression on my mind.
  16. Regularly taking (a drug).
    You've been on these antidepressants far too long.  He's acting so strangely, I think he must be on something.
  17. Under the influence of (a drug).
    He's acting crazy because he's on crack right now.
  18. (mathematics) Having identical domain and codomain.
    a function on
  19. (mathematics) Having V^n as domain and V as codomain, for some set V and integer n.
    an operator on
  20. (mathematics) Generated by.
    the free group on four letters
  21. Supported by (the specified part of itself).
    A table can't stand on two legs.  After resting on his elbows, he stood on his toes, then walked on his heels.
  22. At a given time after the start of something; at#Preposition|at.
  23. In addition to; besides; indicating multiplication or succession in a series.
    heaps on heaps of food
    mischief on mischief; loss on loss
  24. (obsolete, regional) of
    • 1599, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Ivlivs Cæsar”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act I, scene ii]:
      Be not jealous on me.
    • c. 1606, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Macbeth”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act I, scene iii]:
      Or have we eaten on the insane root / That takes the reason prisoner?
  25. Indicating dependence or reliance; with confidence in.
    I depended on them for assistance.
    He will promise on certain conditions.
    Do you ever bet on horses?
  26. Toward; for; indicating the object of an emotion.
    Have pity or compassion on him.
  27. (obsolete) At the peril of, or for the safety of.
    • Hence, on thy life.
  28. In the service of; connected with; of the number of.
    He is on a newspaper; I am on the committee.
  29. By virtue of; with the pledge of.
    He affirmed or promised on his word, or on his honour.
  30. To the account or detriment of; denoting imprecation or invocation, or coming to, falling, or resting upon.
    On us be all the blame.
    A curse on him!
    Please don't tell on her and get her in trouble.
    He turned on her and has been her enemy ever since.
    He went all honest on me, making me listen to his confession.
    • 1611, The Holy Bible, […] (King James Version), imprinted at London: By Robert Barker, […], OCLC 964384981 ↗, Matthew 27:25 ↗:
      His blood be on vs, and on our children.
  31. (especially when numbers of combatants or competitors are specified) Against; in opposition to.
    The fight was three on one, and he never stood a chance.
Synonyms Related terms Translations
  • French: sur
  • German: auf
  • Russian: на
Translations Translations
  • German: an
  • Russian: в
Translations Translations Translations Translations
  • German: auf
  • Russian: с
Translations Verb

on (ons, present participle oning; past and past participle oned)

  1. (transitive, Singapore, Philippines) to switch on
    Can you on the light?
    Synonyms: turn on
  1. (UK dialectal, Scotland) Without.


  1. In the Japanese language, a pronunciation, or reading, of a kanji character that was originally based on the character's pronunciation in Chinese, contrasted with kun.
    Most kanji have two kinds of reading, called "on" and "kun".
Related terms
Proper noun
  1. Abbreviation of Ontario#English|Ontario, a province of Canada.
    Coordinate terms: AB#English|AB, BC#English|BC, MB#English|MB, NB#English|NB, NL#English|NL, NS#English|NS, NT#English|NT, NU#English|NU, PE#English|PE, QC#English|QC, SK#English|SK, YT#English|YT
  2. Initialism of Old Norse

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