Definition of On. Dictionary.


On (&obreve_;n), prep. [OE. on, an, o, a, AS. on, an; akin to D. aan, OS. & G. an, OHG. ana, Icel. ā, Sw. å, Goth. ana, Russ. na, L. an-, in anhelare to pant, Gr. 'ana, Zend ana. √195. Cf. A-, 1, Ana-, Anon.] The general signification of on is situation, motion, or condition with respect to contact or support beneath; as: --
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1. 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.
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I stood on the bridge at midnight.
Longfellow.
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2. 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.
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Whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken.
Matt. xxi. 44.
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3. 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.
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4. At or near; adjacent to; -- indicating situation, place, or position; as, on the one hand, on the other hand; the fleet is on the American coast.
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5. In addition to; besides; -- indicating multiplication or succession in a series; as, heaps on heaps; mischief on mischief; loss on loss; thought on thought. Shak.
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6. 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; based on certain assumptions.
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7. At or in the time of; during; as, on Sunday we abstain from labor. See At (synonym).
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8. At the time of; -- often conveying some notion of cause or motive; as, on public occasions, the officers appear in full dress or uniform; the shop is closed on Sundays. Hence, in consequence of, or following; as, on the ratification of the treaty, the armies were disbanded; start on the count of three.
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9. Toward; for; -- indicating the object of some passion; as, have pity or compassion on him.
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10. At the peril of, or for the safety of. “Hence, on thy life.” Dryden.
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11. 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.
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12. 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.
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His blood be on us and on our children.
Matt. xxvii. 25.
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13. In reference or relation to; as, on our part expect punctuality; a satire on society.
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14. Of. [Obs.] “Be not jealous on me.” Shak.
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Or have we eaten on the insane root
That takes the reason prisoner?
Shak.
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&hand_; Instances of this usage are common in our older writers, and are sometimes now heard in illiterate speech.
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15. Occupied with; in the performance of; as, only three officers are on duty; on a journey; on the job; on an assignment; on a case; on the alert.
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16. In the service of; connected with; a member of; as, he is on a newspaper; on a committee.
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&hand_; On and upon are in general interchangeable. In some applications upon is more euphonious, and is therefore to be preferred; but in most cases on is preferable.
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17. In reference to; about; concerning; as, to think on it; to meditate on it.
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On a bowline. (Naut.) Same as Closehauled. -- On a wind, or On the wind (Naut.), sailing closehauled. -- On a sudden. See under Sudden. -- On board, On draught, On fire, etc. See under Board, Draught, Fire, etc. -- On it, On't, of it. [Obs. or Colloq.] Shak. -- On shore, on land; to the shore. -- On the road, On the way, On the wing, etc. See under Road, Way, etc. -- On to, upon; on; to; -- sometimes written as one word, onto, and usually called a colloquialism; but it may be regarded in analogy with into.
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They have added the -en plural form on to an elder plural.
Earle.
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We see the strength of the new movement in the new class of ecclesiastics whom it forced on to the stage.
J. R. Green.
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On, adv. [See On, prep.] 1. Forward, in progression; onward; -- usually with a verb of motion; as, move on; go on; the beat goes on. “Time glides on.” Macaulay.
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The path is smooth that leadeth on to danger.
Shak.
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2. Forward, in succession; as, from father to son, from the son to the grandson, and so on.
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3. In continuance; without interruption or ceasing; as, sleep on, take your ease; say on; sing on.
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4. Adhering; not off; as in the phrase, “He is neither on nor off,” that is, he is not steady, he is irresolute.
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5. Attached to the body, as clothing or ornament, or for use. “I have boots on.” B. Gonson.
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He put on righteousness as a breastplate.
Is. lix. 17.
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6. In progress; proceeding; ongoing; as, a game is on.
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&hand_; On is sometimes used as an exclamation, or a command to move or proceed, some verb being understood; as, on, comrades; that is, go on, move on.
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On and on, continuously; for a long time together. “Toiling on and on and on.” Longfellow.
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