- 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."I stood on the bridge at midnight." [Longfellow.]
- 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."Whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken." [Matt. xxi. 44.]
- 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.
- 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.
- In addition to; besides; -- indicating multiplication or succession in a series; as, heaps on heaps; mischief on mischief; loss on loss; thought on thought.
- 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.
- At or in the time of; during; as, on Sunday we abstain from labor. See Atsynonym).
- 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.
- Toward; for; -- indicating the object of some passion; as, have pity or compassion on him.
- At the peril of, or for the safety of."Hence, onthy life." [Dryden.]
- 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.
- 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. "His blood be on us and on our children." [Matt. xxvii. 25.]
- In reference or relation to; as, on our part expect punctuality; a satire on society.
- Of.(Obs)"Be not jealous onme." [Shak.]"Or have we eaten on the insane root That takes the reason prisoner?" [Shak.]
- 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.
- In the service of; connected with; a member of; as, he is on a newspaper; on a committee.
- In reference to; about; concerning; as, to think on it; to meditate on it."They have added the -en plural form on to an elder plural." [Earle.]"We see the strength of the new movement in the new class of ecclesiastics whom it forced on to the stage." [J. R. Green.]
Note: ☞ Instances of this usage are common in our older writers, and are sometimes now heard in illiterate speech.
Note: ☞ 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.
Etymology: 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