Meaning of on to in English:

on to

Pronunciation /ˈɒn tuː/


  • 1Moving to a location on the surface of.

    ‘they went up on to the ridge’
    • ‘Stepping back from the car into the middle of the road was like stepping onto the surface of the moon.’
    • ‘Hide the bottom edge of a mirror with gravel to help prevent mud splashing onto the surface.’
    • ‘Using a fine nozzle, the design is extruded onto the surface in a manner a bit like icing a cake.’
    • ‘It dropped only a yard ahead of him onto the putting surface and he dropped another shot.’
    • ‘I caught him in my trap and the towel and the fly fell onto the surface of the table.’
    • ‘Finally, the mixture is poured onto a surface and allowed to cool and set before being cut into small pieces.’
    • ‘Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and push it into a flat round or oval about 2.5cm thick.’
    • ‘Try as he did, the Dane could not manage to get the ball far enough onto the putting surface to stop it rolling back to his feet.’
    • ‘The female releases her eggs onto the surface of the gravel, where they are fertilised by the males.’
    • ‘As the crew jogged down the ramp and onto the surface, the first thing that struck them was the mansion.’
    • ‘Shadows from a point source appear parallel when projected onto a flat surface.’
    • ‘The mercury was applied by vigorously brushing it onto the surface of the metal.’
    • ‘Moving up onto the main banks we found ourselves amongst the main fleet of boats.’
    • ‘At the top of a hill the dirt path is blocked by oil drums and it empties onto blacktop.’
    • ‘Moving carefully about he climbed up onto the bed and softly nudged his nose under my arm.’
    • ‘Most of my hair was up but some loose ends fell into my face and down onto my shoulders.’
    • ‘Jared jumped onto the bed next to him and gave him a hug as soon as he stepped into the room.’
    • ‘The fork is held in the left hand and used to push food onto a spoon held in the right hand.’
    • ‘He walks out onto the field now confident in what we are going to do and how he is going to do it.’
    • ‘How many times a day do you step up onto a curb, trot up a flight of stairs or hike up a hill?’
  • 2Moving aboard (a public service vehicle) with the intention of travelling in it.

    ‘we got on to the train’
    • ‘And then the rich will continue to drive while the poor are herded onto public transport.’
    • ‘Well, I admire anyone who managed to make it onto public transport or back into the centre.’
    • ‘He hops onto the train and finds a carriage full of kids who, like him, are all in their pyjamas and dressing gowns.’
    • ‘We stumble drunk onto a train, and I snore and dribble on your more-than-ample chest.’
    • ‘Neil would've gotten her changing onto a Thameslink train and ending up at Farringdon.’
    • ‘It is thought plain clothes officers chased the man from the street onto a Northern Line train.’
    • ‘I left my desk on the spot of six and made it onto an earlier train than I'd expected.’
    • ‘Moments later he was followed into the station and onto a train where he was shot seven times.’
    • ‘We were turfed off at Shenfield and crammed onto another train on its way in from London.’
    • ‘The usual morning squash onto the train and I'm two rows in from the doors as they shut.’
    • ‘They scrambled onto the train, and Carrie felt very big and very small at the same time.’
    • ‘Then they all swooshed onto the sub train and the train swooshed us to another terminal.’
    on to




    be on to someone
    • Be close to discovering the truth about an illegal or undesirable activity that someone is engaging in.

      • ‘The cops were onto us and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it.’
      • ‘When Jackson realized the family was onto him, he tried to send them to South America.’
      • ‘They thought they were onto somebody who was robbing the house.’
      • ‘He must have sensed that she was onto him, because every time she would try and approach him, when they were camped for the night, he would just look at her and get up and walk away.’
      • ‘What he most feared, however, was that Elsa was onto him.’
      • ‘He figured Uncle Byron must have known that Devlin was onto him.’
      • ‘She'd been contemplating whether or not to let Brandon know she was onto him.’
      • ‘I didn't want her to even guess that I was onto her.’
      • ‘More importantly, how did Renee know she was onto her?’
      • ‘She must have realized he was onto her, for then she relaxed herself and allowed her soft pink lips to straighten out, forming a grim line on her face.’
    be on to something
    • Have an idea or information that is likely to lead to an important discovery.

      • ‘In many ways I think Kevin is onto something very important here.’
      • ‘In fact, professional skydivers have been onto the idea since the early 1990s and probably before.’
      • ‘Indeed, Edwards seems to be onto this idea already.’
      • ‘And I think Haus is onto something with the idea of ‘passing’ - because that's something I think this guy could do really well.’
      • ‘My mind was already on the topic of discoveries, and I was pretty sure I was onto something important.’
      • ‘Mount Vernon's archaeologists knew that they were onto something important.’
      • ‘As he looked over the information he started to wonder if Steve could have been onto something.’
      • ‘Maybe those girls were onto something - outsourcing!’
      • ‘Perhaps my mother was onto something when she spent nine months thinking that I was going to be a boy named Michael.’
      • ‘Think about that Mike. Anne Dillard is onto something there.’