General English

  • adverb being worn
  • adverb being shown or played
  • preposition on the top or surface of something
  • preposition showing movement or place
  • preposition referring to a time, date or day
  • preposition a means of travel
  • preposition using an instrument or machine


  • preposition being a member of a group
  • preposition in a certain way
  • preposition doing something


  • adjective on, towards, or relating to the on-side
    Citation ‘On-balls have a greater tendency to turn in towards the wicket’ (New sporting Magazine July 1836)
    See also leg, off
  • adverb in or into the position of being the bowler
    Citation ‘A bowler should never be kept on if he is not getting wickets, and if the batsmen are playing him with ease’ (Badminton 1888)
    Citation ‘At 247, Benaud brought himself on for Rorke, but persevered with Lindwall’ (Peebles 1959)
  • noun the side of the pitch on which the striker stands to receive the ball; leg


  • A state in which a current, voltage, or other signal passes, so that a component, circuit, switch, device, piece of equipment, or system is connected or otherwise operating. 2. On (1), as opposed to off (1), when there are only two such states available to a component, circuit, switch, device, piece of equipment, or system.

Information & Library Science

  • preposition done by a machine or instrument

Cars & Driving

  • acronym foroctane number
    (written as ON)
  • noun the measure of a fuel’s anti-knock rating; the average of Research Octane Number (RON) and motor Octane Number (MON).

Origin & History of “on”

On is an ancient Germanic preposition, with relatives in German (an), Dutch (aan), and Swedish (å), and also connections outside Germanic (such as Greek aná ‘on’ and Russian na ‘on’)