Language: Old English


1 preposition
on1 S1 W1

on a surface

a) touching a surface or being supported by a surface:
Leave your things on the table over there.
People were sunbathing on the grass.
The little girl was sitting on her father's shoulders.
see usage note at
b) used to say that someone or something moves so that they are then touching or supported by a surface:
snow falling on the mountainsides
He threw himself on the bed.

supporting your body

used to say what part of someone's body is touching the ground or another surface and supporting their weight:
She was on her feet in no time.
He was on his hands and knees searching for something.
Can you stand on your head?

part hit/touched

used to say what part of someone or something is hit or touched:
I wanted to punch him on the nose.
Matt kissed her on the cheek.


used to say where something is written or shown:
There's a diagram on page 25.
He wrote his phone number on a piece of paper.


attached to or hanging from something:
She hung her coat on a hook.
Dogs must be kept on a lead at all times.


in a particular place:
The town is right on the border.
Is there a water supply on the island?
He grew up on a ranch in California.
a store on Fifth Avenue


in a particular position in relation to something else:
You'll see the school on your left.
They live on the opposite side of the town.


looking or pointing towards something or someone:
His eyes were on the stranger standing in the doorway.
She trained her binoculars on the house.


during a particular day:
They'll be here on Tuesday.
I was born on July 1st.
We'll see you on Christmas Eve.

affecting/relating to

affecting or relating to someone or something:
a tax on cigarettes
his influence on young people
There will be new restrictions on the sale of weapons.
What effect will these changes have on the tourist industry?


about a particular subject:
Do you have any books on India?
You can get information on local services by calling this number.
an international conference on global warming


as a result of someone's order, request, or advice:
He was killed on the king's orders.
I accepted the offer on the advice of my lawyer.


used to talk about what someone usually eats or drinks:
They live mainly on beans, lentils and rice.
Is your baby on solid food yet?


a) in or into a bus, train, plane etc [≠ off]:
Did you manage to sleep on the plane?
Tommy should be on the six o'clock train.
She got on the first bus that came along.
b) riding something:
a statue of the king on horseback
I'll probably come on my bike.


receiving money for a job or as a regular payment:
He's on quite a good salary now.
She must be on at least £50,000 a year.
the difficulties faced by families on low incomes


using a particular type of fuel or power:
Most buses run on diesel.
Does it work on mains electricity?


taking a particular drug or medicine regularly [≠ off]:
Are you still on antibiotics?
The doctor put her on Prozac.
A lot of these kids are on heroin by the age of twelve.

what's somebody on?

spoken used to say that someone is behaving in a very strange way, as if they are taking an illegal drug

using equipment

using a machine or piece of equipment:
He's been on the computer all afternoon.
Is Rachel still on the phone?

musical instruments

playing a musical instrument:
He played a short piece on the piano.
The album features Rick Wakeman on keyboards.


being broadcast by radio or television:
What's on TV tonight?
Did you hear that programme on the radio last night?


used to say in what form information is stored or music, films etc are recorded:
The movie is now available on video and DVD.
I always keep a backup copy on disk.


taking part in an activity or travelling somewhere:
She's on a course all this week.
I met him on vacation in Canada.
My girlfriend is often away on business trips.


included in a group or team of people or in a list:
Are you still on the management committee?
Mr Edwards is no longer on the staff here.
Whose team are you on?
There was no steak on the menu.
What's the next item on the agenda?

when something happens

formal as soon as someone has done something or as soon as something has happened:
Couples are presented with a bottle of wine on their arrival at the hotel.
All patients are examined on admission to the hospital.
on doing something
What was your reaction on seeing him?

compared with something

compared with another person or thing:
This essay is a definite improvement on your last one.
Sales are 10% up on last year.

carrying something

informal if you have something on you, you have it in your pocket, your bag etc:
I don't have any money on me.


be on somebody

spoken used to say who is going to pay for something:
The drinks are on me!
Each table will get a bottle of champagne on the house (=paid for by the restaurant, hotel etc).

telephone number

used to say what number you should use in order to telephone someone [= at American English]
You can contact me on this number.

causing somebody problems

used when something bad happens to you, for example when something you are using suddenly stops working, or someone you have a relationship with suddenly leaves you:
Suddenly the telephone went dead on me.
Dorothy's first husband walked out on her.

at, in, on
Talking about timeUse atwith clock times at one o'clock at 6.30with points of time in the day at midnight at noon at dawn at sunsetwith holiday periods, meaning the few days around the holiday at Easter at Diwaliwith weekend, in British English See you at the weekend! At weekends we go out.Use inwith parts of the day in the morning in the evening I never watch TV in the daytime.with months, seasons, years, centuries in May in summertime in 2004 in the 21st centuryUse onwith dates and specific days on 29th July on Tuesday afternoons on the last day of termwith weekend, in American English We sometimes go there on weekends.Talking about position and placeUse atwith particular positions or places at the end of the corridor at the back of the room at the corner of the street to mean 'next to' or 'beside' She sat at her desk. He stopped me at the door.with words for buildings, for example airport, university, restaurant, art gallery at the airport at the Lyceum theatrewith city or place names, when you are talking about stopping during a journey Does this train stop at Watford?!! BUT otherwise use in - see belowUse inwith a position or place, when something or someone is inside a larger thing such as a room in the bath in the kitchen in the garden in the doorwaywith cities, counties, states, and countries When will you arrive in Tokyo? He lives in Germany. She's working in California.with the names of squares, plazas etc in Times SquareUse onwith a position or place, when one thing is attached to or touching another a spot on the end of her nose a jacket on the back of a chairwith street names on the High Street on 42nd Street on BroadwaySee also at

Dictionary results for "on"
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