American English

Definition of on preposition from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    , NAmE//ɔn//
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  1. 1For the special uses of on in phrasal verbs, look at the entries for the verbs. For example, turn on someone is in the phrasal verb section at turn. in or into a position covering, touching, or forming part of a surface a picture on a wall There's a spot on your skirt. the diagram on page 5 Put it down on the table. He was hit on the head. She climbed on to the bed. This could also be written:onto the bed
  2. 2supported by someone or something She was standing on one foot. Try lying on your back. Hang your coat on that hook.
  3. 3used to show a means of transportation He was on the plane from New York. to travel on the bus/subway/ferry I came on my bike. a woman on horseback
  4. 4used to show a day or date He came on Sunday. We meet on Tuesdays. on May the first/the first of May on the evening of May the first on one occasion on your birthday
  5. 5immediately after something On arriving home I discovered they had gone. Please report to reception on arrival. There was a letter waiting for him on his return.
  6. 6about something or someone a book on Southern cooking She tested us on irregular verbs.
  7. 7being carried by someone; in the possession of someone Have you got any money on you?
  8. 8used to show that someone belongs to a group or an organization to be on the committee/staff/jury/panel Whose side are you on (= which of two or more different views do you support)?
  9. 9eating or drinking something; using a drug or a medicine regularly He lived on a diet of junk food. The doctor put me on antibiotics.
  10. 10used to show direction on the left/right He turned his back on us.
  11. 11at or near a place a town on the coast a house on Lake Michigan We lived on the outskirts of town.
  12. 12used to show the basis or reason for something a story based on fact On their advice I applied for the job.
  13. 13paid for by something to live on Social Security/a student grant to be on a low wage You can't feed a family on $100 a week. Drinks are on me (= I am paying).
  14. 14by means of something; using something She played a tune on her guitar. The information is available on the Internet. We spoke on the phone. What's on TV? The movie is on PBS later tonight.
  15. 15used with some nouns or adjectives to say who or what is affected by something a ban on smoking He's hard on his kids. Go easy on the mayo! (= do not give me too much)
  16. 16compared with someone or something These sales figures are an improvement on last year's totals.
  17. 17used to describe an activity or a state to be away on business/vacation The book is currently on loan.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: on