on Definition in the Cambridge English Dictionary
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Definition of “on” - English Dictionary

Definition of "on" - American English Dictionary

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onpreposition, adverb [not gradable]

 us   /ɔn, ɑn/

on preposition, adverb [not gradable] (SUPPORTED BY)

supported by or ​resting at the ​top of another thing: There is ​snow on the ​ground. You put ​pudding in the ​piecrust and then put ​whippedcream on.

onpreposition, adjective, adverb [not gradable]

 us   /ɔn, ɑn/

on preposition, adjective, adverb [not gradable] (ATTACHED TO)

attached to or ​forming a ​part of another thing: Read the ​instructions on the ​bag. Hang ​yourcoat on that ​hook. Don’t ​screw the ​lid on so ​tight.

on preposition, adjective, adverb [not gradable] (COVERING)

covering or ​wrapping another thing: The ​child had no ​shoes on her ​feet. You should put a ​coat on. The baby’s got nothing on (= is not ​wearing anything).

on preposition, adjective, adverb [not gradable] (BROADCAST)

being ​broadcast: What’s on TV ​tonight? I ​wish there were more ​jazz on the ​radio.

on preposition, adjective, adverb [not gradable] (TRAVEL BY)

used to show a ​method of ​travel; via : It’s ​easy to get to the ​beach on ​foot. Two ​peoplerode by on ​horseback. On is also sometimes used to show you are getting in a ​vehicle: It’s ​time to get on the ​bus.

onpreposition

 us   /ɔn, ɑn/

on preposition (AT)

at, near, or next to a ​particularplace, thing, or ​person: They ​live on Carlisle ​Street. Which ​page is that ​cheesecakerecipe on? El Paso is on the Mexican ​border. Princess Caroline was seated on my ​left.

on preposition (STORED AS)

used to show the ​form in which ​information is ​stored or ​recorded for use with an ​electronicdevice: How much ​data can you ​store on ​your hard ​disk? That ​movie just came out on ​video.

on preposition (USING)

showing what ​tool, ​instrument, ​system, etc., is used to do or ​achieve something: I made this ​chart on my ​computer. I’m on the ​telephone. You’ll ​cut yourself on that ​knife if you’re not ​careful.

on preposition (TAKING)

showing that a ​drug is taken or used: My ​doctor put me on ​antibiotics.

on preposition (NEEDING HELP FROM)

used after some ​verbs and ​adjectives to show that ​help is ​needed from a ​person or thing: We’re ​counting on you to ​drive us to the ​airport.

on preposition (EXISTING)

used to show that a ​condition or ​processexists or is being ​experienced: The ​musicians are on ​strike. Are ​wintercoats on ​sale?

on preposition (INVOLVED IN)

involved in or doing a ​particular thing: I’m ​working on a new ​book. She’s on a ​diet. On is also used to show that someone is doing something he or she was ​chosen to do: There was a ​guard on duty.

on preposition (CONNECTED WITH)

connected with or ​part of a ​group or ​process: Have you ​everserved on a ​jury? There are two women on the ​committee.

on preposition (ABOUT)

about or having something as a ​subject: Did you ​see that ​documentary on ​volcanoes last ​night? Sarita’s ​thesis is on George Crumb.

on preposition (PAYING FOR)

showing that something is ​paid for or how something is ​paid for: I’ve ​wasted a lot of ​money on this ​car. Lunch is on me.

on preposition (WHEN)

used to show when something ​happens: What are you doing on ​Friday? My birthday’s on May 30th. The ​flightarrived on ​time (= at the ​time it was ​expected).

on preposition (COMPARED WITH)

used to make a ​comparison: This week’s ​salesfigures are down on last week’s. He’s got two ​inches on me (= is two ​inchestaller).

on preposition (HAVING AN EFFECT)

used to show that something has ​happened to someone: Marty is always ​playingjokes on ​people. My ​carbroke down on me this ​morning.

on preposition (POSSESSING)

possessing, ​carrying, or having something with you now: Do you have any ​money on you? I don’t have my driver’s ​license on me.

onadverb [not gradable]

 us   /ɔn, ɑn/

on adverb [not gradable] (NOT STOPPING)

continuing or not ​stopping: If her line’s ​busy, ​keep on ​trying.

on adverb [not gradable] (TOWARD)

toward or to something or someone: You go on and I’ll ​meet you at the ​lake. Pass the ​newsletter on to Emily.

onadjective, adverb [not gradable]

 us   /ɔn, ɑn/

on adjective, adverb [not gradable] (OPERATING)

operating or made to ​startoperating: Would you ​turn the TV on? The ​electricity hasn’t been ​turned back on ​yet. infml Someone who is on is either ​performing very well or is in a ​situation where the ​person must be ​aware of everything that is ​happening and be ​ready to ​act: Andy was really on last ​night – I haven’t ​heard him ​sing like that in ​months.

onadjective [not gradable]

 us   /ɔn, ɑn/

on adjective [not gradable] (HAPPENING)

happening or ​planned: I have nothing on for ​tomorrow. Is the ​party still on?
(Definition of on from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

Definition of "on" - British English Dictionary

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onpreposition

uk   /ɒn/  us   /ɑːn/

on preposition (ABOVE)

A1 used to show that something is in a ​position above something ​else and ​touching it, or that something is ​moving into such a ​position: Look at all the ​books on ​yourdesk! Ow, you're ​standing on my ​foot! Your ​suitcase is on ​top of the ​wardrobe. They ​live in that ​oldhouse on the ​hill. I got on my ​bike and ​left.
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on preposition (CONNECTED)

A1 covering the ​surface of, being ​held by, or ​connected to something: There's ​blood on ​yourshirt. Which ​finger do you ​wearyourring on? Can you ​stand on ​yourhead? We could ​hang this ​picture on the ​wall next to the ​door. Dogs should be ​kept on ​theirleashes at all ​times.UK We've just ​movedhouse and we're not on the ​phone (= not ​connected to the ​phoneservice)yet.
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on preposition (TIME)

A1 used to show when something ​happens: Hair ​salons don't usually ​open on Sundays. What are you doing on ​Friday? My birthday's on 30 May. Would you ​mindtelling me what you were doing on the ​afternoon of ​Friday the 13th of ​March? The ​bells in the ​clocktowerring every ​hour on thehour (= at ​exactly one o'clock, two o'clock, etc.). On a ​clearday you can ​see the ​mountains from here. She was ​dead on arrival (= ​dead when she ​arrived) at the ​hospital. Please ​leaveyourkey at the ​receptiondesk on ​yourdeparture from (= when you ​leave) the ​hotel.
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on preposition (WRITING)

A2 used to show where something has been written, ​printed, or ​drawn: Which ​page is that ​curryrecipe on? His ​initials were ​engraved on the back of his ​watch. What's on the ​menutonight? (= What ​food is ​available?)
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on preposition (TRAVEL)

A2 used for ​showing some ​methods of ​travelling: I ​lovetravelling on ​trains. She's coming in on the 5.30 ​bus. We went to France on the ​ferry. It'd be ​quicker to get there on foot. two ​figures on horseback
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on preposition (PROCESS)

used to show that a ​condition or ​process is being ​experienced: He ​accidentally set his ​bed on fire. Max's on holiday this ​week. I often get ​carsick when I'm on a ​longjourney. Crime is on the ​increase (= is ​increasing) again.UK Their ​flights to Paris are on ​special offer at the ​moment.UK I'll be away on a ​trainingcourse next ​week.
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on preposition (RECORDING)

A2 used to show the ​form in which something is ​recorded or ​performed: How much ​data can you ​store on the ​flashdrive? When's the ​movie coming out on ​DVD? I was really ​embarrassed the first ​time I ​saw myself on ​film. What's on TV ​tonight? I ​wish there was more ​jazz on the ​radio.
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on preposition (PAIN)

B2 used to show what ​causespain or ​injury as a ​result of being ​touched: I ​hit my ​head on the ​shelf as I was ​standing up. Be ​careful not to ​cut yourself on that ​knife.
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on preposition (TO)

A2 to or towards: Our ​house is the first on the ​left after the ​postoffice. The ​attack on the ​villagelasted all ​night. I ​wish you wouldn't ​sneak up on me like that!
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on preposition (RELATING)

B1 relating to: a ​book on ​pregnancy Her ​talk is on ​Italian women's ​literature. The ​minister has ​refused to ​comment on the ​allegations. Criticism has no ​effect on him. Do the ​police have anything on you (= do they have any ​information about you that can be used against you)?
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on preposition (MONEY)

A2 used to show something for which a ​payment is made: He ​spent €​180 on a ​hat. I've ​wasted a lot of ​money on this ​car. We made a ​bigprofit on that ​deal. How much ​interest are you ​paying on the ​loan?
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on preposition (NECESSARY)

used to show a ​person or thing that is ​necessary for something to ​happen or that is the ​origin of something: We're relying on you. I might come - it depends on Andrew. Most ​childrenremaindependent on ​theirparents while they are at ​university. His ​latestmovie is based on a ​fairytale.
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on preposition (INVOLVEMENT)

used to show when someone is ​involved or taking ​part in something: I'm ​working on a new ​book. "Where had we got up to?" "We were on ​page 42."
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on preposition (FINANCIAL SUPPORT)

used to show what is ​providingfinancialsupport or an ​income: I only have $70 a ​week to live on at the ​moment. He ​retired on a ​generouspension from the ​company.UK She's on (= ​earning) £25,000 a ​year.
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on preposition (FOOD/FUEL/DRUG)

B2 used to show something that is used as ​food, ​fuel, or a ​drug: What do ​mice live on? Does this ​radio run on ​batteries? Is he on ​drugs?
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on preposition (NEXT TO)

B1 next to or along the ​side of: It's a ​smalltown on the Mississippi River. Our ​house was on Sturton Street. Strasbourg is on the ​border of France and Germany.
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on preposition (MEMBER)

C1 used to show when someone is a ​member of a ​group or ​organization: Have you ​everserved on a ​jury? There are no women on the ​committee. How many ​people are on ​yourstaff?UK She's a ​researcher on a women's ​magazine.
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on preposition (TOOL)

B1 used when referring to a ​tool, ​instrument, or ​system that is used to do something: I do all my ​householdaccounts on the ​computer. Chris is on ​drums and Mike's on ​bassguitar. I'm on (= ​talking on) the ​phone.

on preposition (AGAIN)

UK literary used to show when something is ​repeated one or more ​times: The ​governmentsuffereddefeat on ​defeat in the ​localelections. Wave on ​wave of ​refugees has ​crossed the ​border to ​escape the ​fighting.

on preposition (COMPARISON)

used when making a ​comparison: That's my ​finaloffer, and I can't ​improve on it. The ​manufacturer has never ​improved on the ​earliestmodel of the ​car.UK The ​productivityfigures are down/up on last week's.

on preposition (POSSESSION)

C2 [before pronoun] used to show when someone has something in a ​pocket or in a ​bag that they are ​carrying: Do you have a ​sparepen on you? I don't have my ​drivinglicence on me.

on preposition (AFTER)

happening after and usually because of: Acting on ​information given to them ​anonymously, the ​policearrested him. He ​inherited a ​quarter of a million ​pounds on his mother's ​death. On ​theirreturn they ​discovered that ​theirhouse had been ​broken into.

on preposition (PAYMENT)

informal used to show who is ​paying for something: Dinner ​meal is on me. She had her ​operation done on the National Health Service.

on preposition (FAULTY)

used to show who ​suffers when something does not ​operate as it should: The ​phonesuddenly went ​dead on me. Their ​carbroke down on them on the way ​home.

on preposition (POINTS)

UK used to show the ​number of ​points a ​person or ​team has in a ​competition: Clive's ​team is on five ​points while Joan's is on seven.
Idioms

onadverb

uk   /ɒn/  us   /ɑːn/

on adverb (CONNECTED)

A2 on ​yourbody or someone's ​body: It's very ​cold so put a ​coat on. She ​wanders around the ​house with nothing on. Can you ​remember what he had on (= was ​wearing)? I tried on a few ​jackets, but none of them ​lookednice. covering the ​surface of something or ​connected to something: Screw the ​lid on ​tightly. Surgeons ​managed to ​sew the ​finger back on.
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on adverb (OPERATING)

B2 used to show when something is ​operating or ​starting to ​operate: Could you switch on the ​radio? Would you turn the TV on? You left the ​bedroomlight on.
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on adverb (NOT STOPPING)

continuing or not ​stopping: If her phone's ​busy, keep on ​trying. Stop ​talking and get on with ​yourwork. If Elise would just hang on (= ​wait) a little ​longer she'd ​definitely get the ​promotion. The ​noise just went on and on (= ​continued for a ​longtime), and I ​thought it would never ​stop.
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on adverb (TRAVEL)

B1 into a ​bus, ​train, ​plane, etc., or in the ​correctposition to ​start using some other ​method of ​travelling: The ​trainsuddenlystartedmoving as I was getting on. Her ​horsegalloped off as ​soon as she was on.

on adverb (PERFORMING)

C2 performing: Hurry up with the ​make-up - I'm on in ten ​minutes. The ​audiencecheered as the ​band came on (= came onto the ​stage).
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on adverb (MOVING FORWARD)

B2 continuingforward in ​time or ​space: They never ​spoke to each other from that ​day on (= after that ​day). What are you doing later on? When you're done with it, would you ​pass it on to Paul?UK Move on, ​please, and ​let the ​ambulance through.UK You ​cycle on and I'll ​meet you there.
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on adverb (HAPPENING)

B2 happening or ​planned: Is the ​party still on fortomorrow? I'm ​busytomorrow, but I've got nothing on the ​day after. I've got a lot on at the ​moment. Food had to be ​rationed when the ​war was on. Are there any good ​movies on (= being ​shown) this ​week?
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on adverb (POSITION)

used when ​talking about the ​position of one thing ​compared with the ​position of another: It's ​amazing nobody was ​injured because the two ​busescrashed head on (= the ​frontparts of the ​buseshit each other).UK The ​bikehitourcar side on (= ​hit the ​side of the ​carrather than the ​front or back).UK It would be ​easier to get the ​bookcase through the ​doorway if we ​turned it sideways on (= ​turned it so that one of ​itssides is at the ​front).
(Definition of on from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
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