Main meanings of ON in English

: on1ON2ON3


See synonyms for ON

Translate ON into Spanish


  • Ontario (in official postal use).

Main meanings of ON in English

: on1ON2ON3


See synonyms for ON

Translate ON into Spanish


  • Old Norse.

Main meanings of on in English

: on1ON2ON3


Pronunciation /ɒn/

See synonyms for on

Translate on into Spanish


  • 1Physically in contact with and supported by (a surface)

    ‘on the table was a water jug’
    • ‘she was lying on the floor’
    • ‘a sign on the front gate’
    • ‘There was a crystal vase filled with flowers on the table.’
    • ‘I was standing on a chair in front of the mirror while Mother dressed me and combed my hair.’
    • ‘She felt his hands on her shoulders.’
    • ‘There was a notice on the door saying that due to technical issues the shop will be closed indefinitely.’
    • ‘There were wonderful pictures on the wall.’
    • ‘They were both sitting on the couch, looking at magazines.’
    • ‘Every day she eats beans on toast.’
    • ‘Looking around the room I notice a computer on his desk.’
    • ‘There was a definite angle and there was no way we could sleep on it.’
    • ‘For the first time in months it would be possible to eat a meal set out on it.’
    1. 1.1Located somewhere in the general surface area of (a place)
      ‘an internment camp on the island’
      • ‘the house on the corner’
      • ‘Nearly every town on the coast and islands has an equipped marina.’
      • ‘The only surviving Georgian house on the street was semi-derelict.’
      • ‘He tracks them through the forest and marshlands and finally finds that they have taken refuge inside a shack on the riverbank.’
      • ‘We buy some fresh bread from the only shop on the island.’
      • ‘These are times I wish I had a house on the beach.’
      • ‘There is a large prison on the moor, where more than a thousand convicts are confined.’
      • ‘Originally the local county councillors wanted to sell the land to build a new church on it.’
    2. 1.2As a result of accidental physical contact with.
      ‘he banged his head on a beam’
      • ‘While walking he stubbed his toe on a sharp rock.’
      • ‘I am glad I didn't cut myself on the broken glass.’
      • ‘He did his best not to cut himself on the jagged edge of the can.’
      • ‘The healthcare worker injured herself on the exposed needle.’
      • ‘He tripped on a discarded shoe box and hit his head on an open desk drawer.’
      • ‘He banged his elbow on a marble countertop while cleaning dishes at his home.’
      • ‘She fell and lightly grazed her knee on the sidewalk.’
      • ‘She bumped her head on the ceiling.’
    3. 1.3Supported by (a part of the body)
      ‘he was lying on his back’
      • ‘Kelly underwent 11 major surgeries and spent long hours stretched out on her back, on a morphine drip.’
      • ‘Why do flamingos stand on one leg?’
      • ‘The longest recorded duration for balancing on one foot is 76 hours 40 minutes.’
      • ‘Did you ever get concerned about your little toddler walking around on his tiptoes all the time?’
      • ‘The horse reared back on its hind legs.’
      • ‘If he is lying on his front, put a pad under his forehead to extend his neck and free his airway.’
      • ‘He asked if I wanted a drink and got down on all fours while he looked in the mini-bar.’
      supported by, resting on, in contact with
      View synonyms
    4. 1.4On to.
      ‘put it on the table’
      • ‘He put the empty bottle on the desk.’
      • ‘I put my hand on his shoulder.’
      • ‘Hang your coat on the hook there and let's go to the kitchen for tea.’
      • ‘He dropped his bag on the floor and sat on the couch.’
      • ‘I put the shopping on the passenger seat and started to drive home.’
      • ‘Put a large blob of mayonnaise on the side of the plate.’
      • ‘He put my resume down on his desk and rubbed the bridge of his nose.’
    5. 1.5In the possession of; being carried by.
      ‘she only had a few pounds on her’
      • ‘He reached into his pocket, only to discover that he didn't have his wallet on him.’
      • ‘I'll give you my agent's number, but I don't have it on me right now.’
      • ‘If they do not have any money on them, the police take them to the police station.’
      • ‘She had her phone on her at all times.’
      • ‘I'll treat you to lunch, but I only have 20 dollars on me.’
  • 2Forming a distinctive or marked part of the surface of.

    ‘a scratch on her arm’
    • ‘a smile on her face’
    • ‘I looked in the mirror and noticed a mark on my chest.’
    • ‘My son has a bruise on his forehead.’
    • ‘I've got a nasty scratch on my car.’
    • ‘In the examining room, Dr. O'Brien was silent as he looked at the mole on her leg.’
    • ‘The oil made a dark stain on the carpet.’
    • ‘He had an angry look on his face.’
    • ‘She made Eric a cake with a cow on it as a leaving gift.’
    • ‘The bike had a black seat with a white stripe on it, a white rim round the wheels and orange pedals.’
    • ‘We had to identify him by one of his trainers and a schoolbag with his name on it.’
    • ‘The bag is black with a white cross on it, and contained a brown purse and gold loop earrings.’
  • 3Having (the thing mentioned) as a topic; about.

    ‘a book on careers’
    • ‘The details on side effects are listed in Table 2 of the online supplement.’
    • ‘I attempted to understand the articles on cricket but failed miserably.’
    • ‘I want to write a book on how to eat properly.’
    • ‘A very interesting conversation on language and writing ensued.’
    • ‘After I began writing this article, a passionate debate on the same subject erupted in an online discussion forum.’
    • ‘I watched a show last night on advances in forensic science.’
    • ‘An Australian film crew were making a documentary on Asian footballers who play in Europe.’
    regarding, concerning, with reference to, referring to, with regard to, with respect to, respecting, relating to, on, touching on, dealing with, relevant to, with relevance to, connected with, in connection with, on the subject of, in the matter of, apropos, re
    View synonyms
    1. 3.1Having (the thing mentioned) as a basis.
      ‘a constitution modelled on America's’
      • ‘The film is based on a true story.’
      • ‘How often they remove the snow is dependant on the weather.’
      • ‘Traditional Cambridge colleges, modelled on monastic cloisters, consist of courts surrounded by walls of individual rooms.’
      • ‘There are many ways to make iced tea, and countless variations on the basic recipe.’
      • ‘If you need a prototype built on a new design, we can handle it.’
      • ‘On their advice I sold most of my shares.’
      • ‘The lame argument for using this datum is that some of the paper maps were based on it.’
  • 4As a member of (a committee, jury, or other body)

    ‘they would be allowed to serve on committees’
    • ‘I knew he was on the jury but did not talk to him about it.’
    • ‘He was on several committees and was a former Lord Mayor.’
    • ‘She served on many advisory councils and boards.’
    • ‘A large proportion of members are unwilling to consider serving on the board.’
    • ‘She sits on a number of high-profile advisory groups.’
    • ‘I wish all the people on the committee well as there are some good and willing people on it.’
  • 5Having (the thing mentioned) as a target, aim, or focus.

    ‘five air raids on Schweinfurt’
    • ‘thousands marching on Washington’
    • ‘her eyes were fixed on his dark profile’
    • ‘They're planning an attack on the city.’
    • ‘The colourful protest marched on the Scottish Parliament.’
    • ‘They never actually engaged in close combat by firing on the enemy.’
    • ‘The priest, to my surprise, launched into a verbal assault on me.’
    • ‘The police descended on the premises in large numbers.’
    • ‘Armed raiders escaped with around €20,000 during a daring raid on a busy hotel in west Dublin early yesterday morning.’
  • 6(often followed by a noun without a determiner) having (the thing mentioned) as a medium for transmitting or storing information.

    ‘put your ideas down on paper’
    • ‘stored on the client's own computer’
    • ‘All of these films are available in restored, good quality editions and most are now available on DVD.’
    • ‘I spent a lot time driving and listening to books on tape.’
    • ‘I have the whole series on tape.’
    • ‘The data on the hard drive may still be salvageable.’
    • ‘Operations are routinely recorded on video tape for teaching purposes.’
    • ‘It's not as if the ready availability of rock music on CD stops people going to rock concerts.’
    • ‘I was taught in college that one ought to figure out a program completely on paper before even going near a computer.’
    • ‘The amount of new information stored on paper, film, magnetic and optical media has roughly doubled in the last three years.’
    • ‘Marc used to say ‘If it's not on the Internet, it doesn't exist.’’
    1. 6.1Being broadcast by (a radio or television channel)
      ‘a new twelve-part TV series on Channel 4’
      • ‘One of my favourite sketch shows is being repeated on radio four at the moment.’
      • ‘The show will be broadcast on CBS on December 26th.’
      • ‘He is transfixed by footage of riots showing on Sky News.’
      • ‘The animated short film The Snowman was a huge success when it appeared on Channel 4 in 1982.’
      • ‘She now presents religious and travel programmes on BBC TV.’
      • ‘I enjoyed the show when it aired on MTV.’
      • ‘He is branching out into work as a television presenter, with his own science programme on the Discovery Channel.’
  • 7In the course of (a journey)

    ‘he was on his way to see his mother’
    • ‘I stopped to pick up a gallon of milk on my way home from work.’
    • ‘I'm on my way right now.’
    • ‘Her symptoms grew increasingly bad during the two-week holiday and her leg became very painful on the trip back to Manchester.’
    • ‘You'll see all manner of birdlife on the journey to the only tented camp in the National Park.’
    • ‘During a quiet moment on the expedition, Emma gazes at the Surrey landscape spread out before her.’
    • ‘I felt really lonely in the car on the drive home.’
    1. 7.1While travelling in (a public vehicle)
      ‘John got some sleep on the plane’
      • ‘I picked up a copy of the magazine to read on the plane this week.’
      • ‘They both had their knapsacks stolen on the train.’
      • ‘The boys fall asleep on the train.’
      • ‘On the ferry over I talked to some American missionaries helping with the relief effort.’
      • ‘I read and wrote on the plane home.’
      • ‘The music scene was full of underfed, hard working guys who wrote songs on the bus or in motel rooms.’
      • ‘On the boat back to Europe he basically stayed in his room and drank.’
    2. 7.2On to (a public vehicle) with the intention of travelling in it.
      ‘we got on the train’
      • ‘I had a great deal of apprehension getting on the plane to fly to Japan.’
      • ‘Peg and Matt enjoy being able to hop on the train to Chicago to go to a lecture or eat at a trendy restaurant.’
      • ‘I met him for the first time three weeks ago, when we climbed on the buses to head out to our units.’
      • ‘From here you can pick up a rowing boat or hop on the ferry.’
      • ‘We were among the last to get on the coach and had to take whatever seats were left.’
      • ‘I got on the bus and went into New York.’
      • ‘As our conductor hollered we ran and clambered on the bus back home.’
  • 8Indicating the day or part of a day during which an event takes place.

    ‘reported on September 26’
    • ‘on a very hot evening in July’
    • ‘On the first Monday following Twelfth Night, the corn dolly would be ploughed back into the soil so that its spirit would be released and ensure a good harvest.’
    • ‘Despite the protests, the secrecy of proceedings and the bitter collapse of talks on the last day, progress was made.’
    • ‘On Saturday night we went to a football match.’
    • ‘He had been forced to use his bicycle to get to work because his car had broken down on the morning of the accident.’
    • ‘The children of employees join their parents for a day at the office on Christmas Eve.’
    • ‘They will be married on her birthday.’
    • ‘The idea of allowing employees to dress down on the final day of the week seemed completely harmless to most observers.’
    • ‘Napoleon died on the evening of 5 May 1821.’
    1. 8.1At the time of.
      ‘she was booed on arriving home’
      • ‘Rowena was surprised to find, on walking into the meeting room at the hotel, that most of her co-workers had already arrived.’
      • ‘He had a commission in the RAF and on leaving in 1990 he joined the Territorial Army.’
      • ‘The team was given a great reception on arrival back in Swinford with the Cup.’
      • ‘On his return to Italy in 1945, he abandoned medicine in favour of painting.’
      • ‘The first thing I saw on entering was a life-size model of a heron standing on a counter.’
      • ‘On arrival, please sign in at the registration table.’
      • ‘On closing the door she wondered if she had imagined the smirk on his face.’
      • ‘On returning to his house three weeks later, he was arrested and taken to Newgate prison.’
  • 9Engaged in.

    ‘his attendant was out on errands’
    • ‘Susan was called out of town on business.’
    • ‘Jim's just been on holiday in Scotland.’
    • ‘She had been on leave caring for a sick child.’
    • ‘I was working in Los Angeles on assignment.’
    • ‘When you are on operations it is always nice to receive packages from home.’
    • ‘When you're on vacation or at an out-of-town seminar, go to the local galleries.’
    • ‘We were trained never to stand still when we were out on patrol.’
    • ‘I thought you were on guard duty today.’
  • 10Regularly taking (a drug or medicine)

    ‘he is on morphine to relieve the pain’
    • ‘I was on heavy duty painkillers for 48 hours.’
    • ‘Is it safe for her to be on antibiotics for so long?’
    • ‘Her son had been on drugs for nine years and was desperate to get rid of the habit.’
    • ‘Sometime around January my girlfriend went on the pill.’
    • ‘My Mum and Dad were on heroin before I was born.’
    • ‘I'm happier than I was three years ago, when I was drinking and I was on cocaine.’
    • ‘He had been put on prescription drugs to help him cope with coming off crack.’
    • ‘Since I started working out, I don't have to be on prescription drugs any more.’
    • ‘I was on about sixty cigarettes a day.’
    • ‘These days I take five pills a day, but at one point I was on about 20.’
  • 11Paid for by.

    ‘the drinks are on me’
    • ‘Order what you want from any menu. It's all on the house.’
    • ‘The football tickets for the match tomorrow are on you! I'll buy the drinks!’
    • ‘If ever we're in the same city, dinner's on me.’
    • ‘Congratulations guys; the champagne's on us!’
    • ‘They are already praising you for being ‘such a gentleman’ and promising next time the treat's on them!’
  • 12Added to.

    ‘a few pence on the electricity bill is nothing compared with your security’
    • ‘One hundred pounds a year extra on the insurance is not a lot at all.’
    • ‘It's all too easy to agree to an extra few pounds on the bill, but that could be costly mistake.’
    • ‘We can put another $50 on the course fees.’
    • ‘A few pence on your bid price because you can afford to pay more for it, moves you into maybe the top three positions.’
    • ‘Your friend will receive a 50% deposit bonus up to $50 in bonus dollars on his initial deposit for participating in the program.’


  • 1Physically in contact with and supported by a surface.

    ‘make sure the lid is on’
    • ‘Can I get into the car when the cover is on?’
    • ‘He put the tops on and sealed both glass bottles.’
    • ‘Rinse them in hot water and screw on the lids.’
    • ‘Ben had to come in and help me put the sheets on.’
    • ‘I glued them on and allowed the glue to cure before continuing.’
    • ‘Once the roof was on, the basic structure of the house was completed.’
    1. 1.1(of clothing) being worn by a person.
      ‘she sat waiting with her coat on’
      • ‘They all put their jackets on and headed down the driveway.’
      • ‘With my glasses on I can read signs very far away.’
      • ‘‘What did she have on?’ I asked. ‘A pink top and a blue-jean skirt,’ he said.’
      • ‘The doctor harumped and shoved his hat on.’
      • ‘In the fitting rooms I slipped on the dress and gasped with pleasure.’
      • ‘He hastily pulled on his trousers.’
      • ‘He answered the door and just had a dressing gown on.’
      • ‘My feet were huge by now and I couldn't get my boots on.’
  • 2Indicating continuation of a movement or action.

    ‘she burbled on’
    • ‘he drove on’
    • ‘and so on’
    • ‘They ran on, and eventually came into a long hallway.’
    • ‘We started at seven in the morning, worked on without a break until twelve, then, after an hour for lunch, continued again until half-past five.’
    • ‘I started competing at 16 and carried on until I was 35.’
    • ‘She waited a few moments, and then walked on.’
    • ‘To learn how you can build muscle while you sleep, read on!’
    • ‘She cycled on, through the winding streets of the village to the graveyard beside the old stone church.’
    interminably, at length, for a long time, continuously, endlessly, ceaselessly, without a break, without a pause
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1Further forward; in an advanced state.
      ‘I'll see you later on’
      • ‘time's getting on’
      • ‘I need to lock the door, now the evening's drawing on.’
      • ‘A year on, most have returned to their previous lives.’
      • ‘Nearly three months on, some of the building work is still not complete.’
      • ‘I will discuss this in greater depth later on.’
      • ‘Later on, the house was subdivided into seven apartments.’
      • ‘From that moment on, his career as an artist seemed certain.’
      • ‘It's getting on. I suppose I'd best get back.’
      onward, onwards, on, forth, forwards
      View synonyms
  • 3(of an event) taking place or being presented.

    ‘what's on at the May Festival’
    • ‘there's a good film on this afternoon’
    • ‘The City Theatre has a new play on.’
    • ‘There's a war on, and everybody has to make sacrifices.’
    • ‘I wonder what's on at the movies tonight.’
    • ‘The same problem always happens when the fair is on.’
    • ‘He flipped through the channels and couldn't find anything good on.’
    • ‘The opera festival was on and that helped to create good passing trade.’
    • ‘The exhibition is on until September 17.’
    • ‘The exhibition ‘Accessories from the Royal Wardrobe’ is on at Kensington Palace State Apartments until April 18 2004.’
    • ‘Ms Rushton's review of Hicks' artwork, which is on at Abbot Hall until March 9, was entitled A Festival of Sculpture, Drawing and Light.’
    • ‘Turner, Whistler and Monet is on at Tate Britain until the 15th of May, tickets are £10.’
    • ‘For younger theatre-goers, Goldilocks and the Three Bears will be on at St George's Hall.’
    1. 3.1Due to take place as planned.
      ‘the match is still on’
      • ‘They decided not to have an election. Now it's on again.’
      • ‘Ok guys, the party's on!’
      • ‘Are we still on for that drink in July?’
      • ‘I thought you cancelled? Is it on or what?’
      • ‘Our carnival is definitely still on!’
      • ‘Every time I try and go to a pub quiz, it's not on for some reason.’
  • 4(of an electrical appliance or power supply) functioning.

    ‘they always left the lights on’
    • ‘My dad turned the radio on and proceeded to restlessly channel-surf.’
    • ‘Soon more and more houses will have their electricity on, and life will get back to normal.’
    • ‘Parents often keep the television on while feeding, dressing, or playing with their children.’
    • ‘He doesn't know how to turn on the washing machine.’
    • ‘The chef had forgotten to put the oven on.’
    • ‘Food in a refrigerator stays fresh while the power is on, but turns into a disorderly mess if there is no energy being supplied from the mains.’
    • ‘In Cleveland, the power is on, but residents are asked to boil their drinking water.’
    • ‘By the time the game ended, the lights were on at Fullcast Stadium and the bright sun had dipped behind some clouds.’
    • ‘From time to time the lights go on and off in the auditorium, while the actors continue to perform.’
    • ‘He'd also became fond of switching lights on and off to the point where it was almost an obsession.’
    • ‘I need an appliance which is not expensive to run, and which can be switched on and off as needed.’
    • ‘There is no movement other than a slight change in the shadows as some neon sign far below flicks on and off.’
    • ‘He asks whether he should spend his time between fog patches switching his lights on and off.’
    • ‘The tape player sat on the floor of my bedsit in Bromley, and I used to turn it on and off with my foot.’
    functioning, in operation, working, in use, operating
    View synonyms
  • 5(of a performer) on stage.

    ‘His understudy had to go on for Act II.’
    • ‘That's your cue. You're on.’
    • ‘She is on for the first 19 minutes of the show.’
    • ‘I was thinking I might get bored then the lead actor came on.’
    • ‘Come on girls, you are on in five minutes.’
    • ‘Each time she was to perform, Lynn suffered such dread that she was always too sick to go on.’
    1. 5.1(of an employee) working; on duty.
      ‘I took midnight to 4am and he was on until 8am.’
      • ‘I'm on until we close, probably around four in the morning if the crowd keeps up like this.’
      • ‘Abby explains she's on all day as a medical student.’
      • ‘This past weekend was my weekend on, so I really couldn't get away from work properly.’
      • ‘My Nurse Manager mailed me my schedule and I'm on every Saturday.’


(also on side)
  • The leg side.

    ‘Playing a ball pitched on the off stump to the on side was satisfying.’
    • ‘This forced the spinners to bowl a straighter line, and gave him access to the less-protected on side whenever they erred in length.’
    • ‘He bowled too many loose deliveries down the on side, to batsmen who were strong off their legs, and much of the batting left a lot to be desired.’
    • ‘Bradman reached 50 in ninety-three minutes by forcing a ball from Allen to the on for four.’
    • ‘Two balls later, he pulled the same bowler to the on-side for another single.’


    be on about
    British informal
    • Talk about tediously and at length.

      • ‘she's always on about doing one's duty’
      • ‘She was the only person on board who could always understand what he was on about.’
      • ‘He talked a lot about the virtues of tolerance and fair play, but nobody had a clue what he was on about.’
      • ‘Half of them texted me back wondering what on earth I was on about.’
      • ‘I told him I didn't know what he was on about.’
      • ‘I am one of these people on a low income she is on about.’
      • ‘Most people watching thought the debates a big bore and could not recall what the candidates were on about.’
      • ‘I might head back home watch that video your brother was on about.’
      • ‘Needless to say, no-one had a clue what I was on about.’
      • ‘When I first arrived out here and started yapping on about a film festival, people didn't know what I was on about.’
      • ‘Our Prime Minister is on about how political correctness is harming free speech and opinion.’
    be on at someone
    British informal
    • Nag or grumble at someone.

      • ‘I considered doing this project that the telly people have been on at me to do - a history of the 20th century novel.’
      • ‘The fans have been on at me for ages to write my own stuff.’
      • ‘My Mum has been on at me for ages to do something ‘major’ to celebrate this particular milestone.’
      • ‘He has been on at me to try and find out who they might have belonged to.’
      • ‘At the British team hotel, where several of the squad sport some outlandishly coloured haircuts, they have been on at him to dye his hair again.’
      • ‘My mother had been on at me for some time to try Body Stress Release for my backache.’
      • ‘The church group has recently been on at me to get back there, to start leading out in various things again, or to meet up with them here and there.’
      • ‘People have been on at me for the last five or six weeks, telling me to look at the big picture.’
      • ‘My boss has been on at me all day.’
      • ‘He radiates fitness and has been on at me for some time to join him on these early morning marches.’
    it's not on
    mainly British informal
    • It's impractical or unacceptable.

      • ‘It doesn't matter whether the offenders are over 75 or under ten, if they make a nuisance of themselves - it's not on.’
      • ‘I would just ask the culprits to remember that a lot of people have worked hard to obtain funding for this facility, and that it's not on for them to go around wrecking it just because they are bored.’
      • ‘The woman sat opposite moaned - it's not on, calling ‘Last Orders' early.’
      • ‘I'm not just saying this for us, but the park is for everyone and it's not on.’
      • ‘‘I want to make it really clear, before they even start to discuss it, that it's not on,’ she said.’
      • ‘I know the prime minister's advisors read this site before setting policy, so I'm saying now, it's not on.’
      • ‘They fall out on the street at 6 or 7 in the morning and disturb all the residents, it's not on.’
      • ‘We could have this problem every day for the next year and it's not on.’
      • ‘I would be the first to agree it's not on, but I'm trying to get something done about it.’
      • ‘It's not on having hundreds of kids running wild all day.’
    on and off
    • Intermittently.

      ‘it rained on and off most of the afternoon’
      • ‘Most days have had fairly heavy rain on and off so we have not been able to get out in the garden to tidy up.’
      • ‘There's a girl at work who's been sick on and off over the past few weeks.’
      • ‘I lived there on and off for five years, leaving it for the last time in 1977 and moving on.’
      • ‘I was warned that the most common side effect was a cough and over the past week or so I've had one on and off.’
      • ‘I have been temping on and off but my overdraft stubbornly refuses to get smaller.’
      • ‘She suffered from depression on and off since she was young and masked her emotions very well.’
      • ‘Her husband had connections with the property and may have lived there on and off.’
      • ‘I smoke on and off now, but I don't drink much and have made a lot of changes to my diet.’
      • ‘Simon had worked in the business on and off since childhood.’
      • ‘He is thought to have worked on and off as a government spy for the rest of his life.’
    on and on
    • Continually; at tedious length.

      ‘he went on and on about his grandad's trombone’
      • ‘The whole show dragged on and on seemingly forever.’
      • ‘But too many suspensions cases have dragged on and on, wasting large sums of taxpayers' money.’
      • ‘I tried to make a big show of looking away from the screen till it was over, but the scene went on and on.’
      • ‘She took the phone and talked on and on without holding the steering wheel.’
      • ‘During one hot summer, Lisa kept on and on about wanting to go swimming.’
      • ‘He was going on and on in his speech about safety at reasonable cost.’
      • ‘The UN negotiations drag on and on as the international community weakens and loses interest.’
      • ‘He sat down with James in his lap, listening to the little boy babble on and on.’
      • ‘The teacher droned on and on about local history.’
      • ‘He rambled on and on about how different brands compared to others.’
    on for young and old
    Australian, New Zealand informal
    • (of a battle, argument, party, etc.) characterized by the participants' lack of inhibition or restraint.

      • ‘if he'd been there when he insulted her it would've been on for young and old’
      • ‘It was on for young and old, pretty much to the end of the session.’
      • ‘A couple of months extra waiting will not hurt, it will be on for young and old soon enough.’
      • ‘They spelt it out on the evening news, telling of the e-mail proving everything, and after that it was on for young and old alike.’
      • ‘Godwin had the hero towed to the moon by a flock of swans, and after that, it was on for young and old with all sorts of graphic descriptions of travel between worlds.’
      • ‘Within a couple of songs, however, the dancing on the bar is on for young and old.’
      • ‘The trolls came out of the woodwork and it was on for young and old.’
      • ‘Steph doesn't want to hear it, and she tries to leave, but Boyd enters the house and it's on for young and old.’
      • ‘It's all on for young and old in the blogosphere.’
      • ‘I've never known a young woman who knew such language and I thought for a moment it was going to be all on for young and old.’
      • ‘I remember detectives drinking like fish at the bar and then getting called out to an armed incident and it was all on for young and old.’
    on it
    Australian, New Zealand informal
    • Drinking heavily.

      • ‘He knew how drink affected Brand, and he muttered to his wife, ‘He's on it proper to day.’’
      • ‘‘They reckon Groggy's on it again,’ observed Tommy.’
    on with
    Australian, New Zealand informal
    • Having a romantic relationship with (someone)

      • ‘she's always ringing Jack, and I think she's on with him’
      • ‘She doesn't know, it seems to me, whether she's on with him or off with him.’
      • ‘That floozy in the house, I bet he's on with her already.’
      • ‘She is on with him again.’
      • ‘She had just left her husband who was on with her best friend.’
      • ‘He's on with this absolute glam babe at the moment.’
      • ‘When he's on with a girl he's as cool as a clubman.’
      • ‘"My girlfriend's on with another bloke."’
    what are you on?
    • Said to express incredulity at someone's behaviour, with the implication that they must be under the influence of drugs.

      • ‘‘What were you on when you made that track, man?’’
      • ‘You are getting creepier and more paranoid than normal… what are you on?’
      • ‘I stopped and looked at them as they stared and Shannon said, ‘what are you on?’’
      • ‘Ma, its four in the morning, what are you on? Did you overdose on painkillers again?’
      • ‘For god's sake Holly, what are you on?’
      • ‘Dude, what are you on? Are you still loaded?’
    you're on
    • Said by way of accepting a challenge or bet.

      • ‘If you mean it, you're on! There's lots I could do with three hundred quid.’
      • ‘‘A bottle of tequila says we find it in less than a week,’ Liz said. ‘Make it two, and you're on,’ Isabel said, shaking her hand.’
      • ‘Make it £5 and you're on.’
      • ‘You're on. You come up with a good enough prize for me to win, and I'll be happy to take your bet.’
      • ‘I think about it for a moment and I tell him ‘OK, you're on. I'll take your bet.’’


Old English on, an, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch aan and German an, from an Indo-European root shared by Greek ana.