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Definition on

Etymology 1

From Middle English on, from Old English on, an (“on, upon, onto, in, into”), from Proto-Germanic *ana (“on, at”), from Proto-Indo-European *h₂en-. Cognate with North Frisian a (“on, in”), Saterland Frisian an (“on, at”), West Frisian oan (“on, at”), Dutch aan (“on, at, to”), Low German an (“on, at”), German an (“to, at, on”), Swedish å (“on, at, in”), Faroese á (“on, onto, in, at”), Icelandic á (“on, in”), Gothic ??? (ana), Ancient Greek ἀνά (aná, “up, upon”), Albanian (“in”); and from Old Norse upp á: Danish , Swedish , Norwegian , see upon.


on (not comparable)

  1. In the state of being active, functioning or operating.
  2. Performing according to schedule.
  3. (chiefly Britain, informal, usually negative) Acceptable, appropriate.
  4. (informal) Destined, normally in the context of a challenge being accepted; involved, doomed.
  5. (baseball, informal) Having reached a base as a runner and being positioned there, awaiting further action from a subsequent batter.
  6. (euphemistic) Menstruating.

on (not comparable)

  1. To an operating state.
  2. Along, forwards (continuing an action).
  3. In continuation, at length.
  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. (Can we add an example for this sense?)
  5. (obsolete in the US) Later.
  6. Of betting odds, denoting a better than even chance. See also odds-on.


  1. Positioned at the upper surface of, touching from above.
  2. At or near; adjacent to.
  3. Covering.
  4. At the date of.
  5. Some time during the day of.
  6. Dealing with the subject of, about, or concerning something.
  7. Touching; hanging from.
  8. (informal) In the possession of.
  9. Because of, or due to.
  10. Upon; at the time of (and often because of).
  11. Paid for by.
  12. Used to indicate a means or medium.
  13. Indicating a means of subsistence.
  14. Away or occupied with (e.g. a scheduled activity).
  15. Denoting performance or action by contact with the surface, upper part, or outside of anything; hence, by means of; with.
  16. Regularly taking (a drug).
  17. Under the influence of (a drug).
  18. (mathematics) Having identical domain and codomain.
  19. (mathematics) Having as domain and V as codomain, for some set V and integer n.
  20. (mathematics) Generated by.
  21. Supported by (the specified part of itself).
  22. At a given time after the start of something; at.
  23. In addition to; besides; indicating multiplication or succession in a series.
  24. (obsolete, regional) of
  25. Indicating dependence or reliance; with confidence in.
  26. Toward; for; indicating the object of an emotion.
  27. (obsolete) At the peril of, or for the safety of.
  28. In the service of; connected with; of the number of.
  29. By virtue of; with the pledge of.
  30. To the account or detriment of; denoting imprecation or invocation, or coming to, falling, or resting upon.
  31. (especially when numbers of combatants or competitors are specified) Against; in opposition to.

on (third-person singular simple present ons, present participle oning, simple past and past participle oned)

  1. (transitive, Singapore, Philippines) to switch on

Etymology 2

From Old Norse ón, án (“without”), from Proto-Germanic *ēnu, *ēno, *ino (“without”), from Proto-Indo-European *anew, *enew (“without”). Cognate with North Frisian on (“without”), Middle Dutch an, on (“without”), Middle Low German āne (“without”), German ohne (“without”), Gothic ??? (inu, “without, except”), Ancient Greek ἄνευ (áneu, “without”).



  1. (Britain dialectal, Scotland) Without.

Etymology 3

From Japanese 音読み (on-yomi, literally “sound reading”).



  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.

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