Meaning of onto in English:



  • 1

    variant form of on to

    • ‘They tell me we were happy, holding each other onto the sledge as it hurtled down into the fog and white voided fields.’
    • ‘Little did I know, as I struggled onto a hugely packed tube, that the city was in total gridlock.’
    • ‘However, once the business meeting has finished I will have to venture out onto the mean streets.’
    • ‘Harry and Dolly were waiting impatiently for me, wanting to go out onto the catio to catch the last of the evening.’
    • ‘How the woman who served me managed to sneak onto the staff, then, I don't know.’
    • ‘Next thing I know a cat turns up near our table then another and the first jumps up onto the table and gives my friend a hard stare.’
    • ‘I hoped I wouldn't disgrace myself by screaming too loudly if it decided to run onto my arm instead.’
    • ‘People spilled out onto the pavement, sitting in doorways with their drinks.’
    • ‘And he arrived to find water leaking through the roof onto all the computers in the server room.’
    • ‘I'm loading a pallet onto the shrink-wrapping machine and the radio news catches my ear.’
    • ‘Then this ginger and white coloured rat came out of the bag and went walkabout around the seat and up onto the girl's lap.’
    • ‘I took a sip of wine, and gently placed the glass back down onto the table.’
    • ‘And you can type little messages onto it, and it will even guess what word you're typing!’
    • ‘Harry snuck in quietly and jumped onto my lap without my really noticing.’
    • ‘I decide I'll let her win and she pushes my shoulders flat onto the bed, throwing the covers back.’
    • ‘After all you can't commit street crime if you're not allowed onto the street.’
    • ‘However, they do share a similar outlook on who they take onto their books.’
    • ‘They can pull you out of the crowd, up onto the stage and dance with you.’
    • ‘Any man who'd have his mum's initials tattooed onto his back has something very special indeed.’
    • ‘He was then pushed over the wall onto the south bank of the River Cherwell, where he lost consciousness.’
  • 2Mathematics
    Expressing the relationship of a set to its image under a mapping when every element of the image set has an inverse image in the first set.

    as modifier ‘an onto mapping’


The preposition onto written as one word (instead of on to) is recorded from the early 18th century and has been widely used ever since, but is still not wholly accepted as part of standard British English (unlike into, for example). Many style guides still advise writing it as two words, and that is the practice followed in this dictionary. However, onto is more or less the standard form in US English and in the specialized mathematics sense. Nevertheless, it is important to maintain a distinction between the preposition onto or on to and the use of the adverb on followed by the preposition to: she climbed on to (or onto) the roof but let's go on to (not onto) the next point