• (prep.) The general signification of on is situation, motion, or
condition with respect to contact or support beneath
• (prep.) At, or in contact with, the surface or upper part of a
thing, and supported by it; placed or lying in contact with the
surface; as, the book lies on the table, which stands on the floor of a
house on an island.
• (prep.) To or against the surface of; -- used to indicate the motion
of a thing as coming or falling to the surface of another; as, rain
falls on the earth.
• (prep.) Denoting performance or action by contact with the surface,
upper part, or outside of anything; hence, by means of; with; as, to
play on a violin or piano. Hence, figuratively, to work on one's
feelings; to make an impression on the mind.
• (prep.) At or near; adjacent to; -- indicating situation, place, or
position; as, on the one hand, on the other hand; the fleet is on the
• (prep.) In addition to; besides; -- indicating multiplication or
succession in a series; as, heaps on heaps; mischief on mischief; loss
on loss; thought on thought.
• (prep.) Indicating dependence or reliance; with confidence in; as,
to depend on a person for assistance; to rely on; hence, indicating the
ground or support of anything; as, he will promise on certain
conditions; to bet on a horse.
• (prep.) At or in the time of; during; as, on Sunday we abstain from
labor. See At (synonym).
• (prep.) At the time of, conveying some notion of cause or motive;
as, on public occasions, the officers appear in full dress or uniform.
Hence, in consequence of, or following; as, on the ratification of the
treaty, the armies were disbanded.
• (prep.) Toward; for; -- indicating the object of some passion; as,
have pity or compassion on him.
• (prep.) At the peril of, or for the safety of.
• (prep.) By virtue of; with the pledge of; -- denoting a pledge or
engagement, and put before the thing pledged; as, he affirmed or
promised on his word, or on his honor.
• (prep.) To the account of; -- denoting imprecation or invocation, or
coming to, falling, or resting upon; as, on us be all the blame; a
curse on him.
• (prep.) In reference or relation to; as, on our part expect
punctuality; a satire on society.
• (prep.) Of.
• (prep.) Occupied with; in the performance of; as, only three
officers are on duty; on a journey.
• (prep.) In the service of; connected with; of the number of; as, he
is on a newspaper; on a committee.
• (prep.) Forward, in progression; onward; -- usually with a verb of
motion; as, move on; go on.
• (prep.) Forward, in succession; as, from father to son, from the son
to the grandson, and so on.
• (prep.) In continuance; without interruption or ceasing; as, sleep
on, take your ease; say on; sing on.
• (prep.) Adhering; not off; as in the phrase, "He is neither on nor
off," that is, he is not steady, he is irresolute.
• (prep.) Attached to the body, as clothing or ornament, or for use.
• (prep.) In progress; proceeding; as, a game is on.