Meaning of “on” - Learner’s Dictionary


preposition us uk /ɒn/
Extra Examples
She tightened her grip on my arm.He was grovelling around on the floor.They were woken up by someone hammering on the door.He fell and hit his head on the table.You've got some dirt on your trousers.

A1 on a surface of something:

We put all of our medicine on a high shelf.
Ouch, you're standing on my foot!

A2 in a particular place:

the diagram on page 22
I met her on a ship.

A2 used to show the way in which something is recorded or performed:

What's on television tonight?
I bought the CD but you can buy it on cassette.

B2 used to show what happens as a result of touching something:

I cut myself on a knife.

B1 about:


A2 used to show what money or time is used for:

I've wasted too much time on this already.
She spends a lot of money on clothes.

B1 next to or along the side of:

The post office is on Bateman Street.

A1 used to show the date or day when something happens:

He's due to arrive on 14 February.
I'm working on my birthday.

B1 using something:

I spoke to Mum on the phone.
I wrote it on my word processor.

happening after something and often because of it:

The Prince was informed on his return to the UK.

A2 used to show some methods of travelling:

Did you go over on the ferry?

B2 used to show something that is used as food, fuel, or a drug:

I can't drink wine because I'm on antibiotics.
be on a committee/panel, etc

to be a member of a group or organization:

She's on the playgroup committee.
have/carry sth on you

to have something with you:

Do you have your driving licence on you?
be on me/him, etc informal

used to show who is paying for something:

This meal is on me.

(Definition of “on preposition” from the Cambridge Learner’s Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)