On vs. In

By Jaxson

  • On (adjective)

    In the state of being operating.

  • On (adjective)

    Performing according to schedule.

    “Are we still on for tonight?”

    “Is the show still on?”

  • On (adjective)

    Acceptable, appropriate.

    “You can’t do that; it’s just not on.”

  • On (adjective)

    Destined, normally in the context of a challenge being accepted; involved, doomed.

    “”Five bucks says the Cavs win tonight.” ―”You’re on!””

    “Mike just threw coffee onto Paul’s lap. It’s on now.”

  • On (adjective)

    Having reached a base as a runner and being positioned there, awaiting further action from a subsequent batter.

  • On (adjective)


  • On (adverb)

    To an operating state.

    “turn the television on”

  • On (adverb)

    Along, forwards (continuing an action).

    “drive on, rock on”

  • On (adverb)

    In continuation, at length.

    “and so on.”

    “He rambled on and on.”

  • On (adverb)

    In, or towards the half of the field on the same side as the batsman’s legs; the left side for a right-handed batsman; leg. en

  • On (adverb)


    “Ten years on, nothing had changed in the village.”

  • On (adverb)

    Of betting odds, denoting a better than even chance. See also odds-on.

    “That horse is at twenty-to-one on, so you need to stake twenty pounds just to win one pound.””

  • On (preposition)

    Positioned at the upper surface of, touching from above.

    “on the table;”

    “on the couch”

    “The parrot was sitting on Jim’s shoulder.”

  • On (preposition)

    At or near; adjacent to.

    “Soon we’ll pass a statue on the left.”

    “The fleet is on the American coast.”

    “Croton-on-Hudson, Rostov-on-Don, Southend-on-Sea”

  • On (preposition)


    “He wore old shoes on his feet.”

  • On (preposition)

    At the date of.

    “Born on the 4th of July.”

  • On (preposition)

    Some time during the day of.

    “I’ll see you on Monday.”

    “The bus leaves on Friday.”

    “Can I see you on a different day? On Sunday I’m busy.”

  • On (preposition)

    Dealing with the subject of, about, or concerning something.

    “A book on history.”

    “The World Summit on the Information Society.”

  • On (preposition)

    Touching; hanging from.

    “The fruit ripened on the trees.”

    “The painting hangs on the wall.”

  • On (preposition)

    In the possession of.

    “I haven’t got any money on me.”

  • On (preposition)

    Because of, or due to.

    “To arrest someone on suspicion of bribery.”

    “To contact someone on a hunch.”

  • On (preposition)

    Upon; at the time of (and often because of).

    “On Jack’s entry, William got up to leave.”

    “On the addition of ammonia, a chemical reaction begins.”

  • On (preposition)

    Paid for by.

    “The drinks are on me tonight, boys.”

    “The meal is on the house.”

    “I paid for the airfare and meals for my family, but the hotel room was on the company.”

  • On (preposition)

    Used to indicate a means or medium.

    “I saw it on television.”

    “Can’t you see I’m on the phone?”

  • On (preposition)

    Indicating a means of subsistence.

    “They lived on ten dollars a week.”

    “The dog survived three weeks on rainwater.”

  • On (preposition)

    Away or occupied with (e.g. a scheduled activity).

    “He’s on his lunch break.”

    “on vacation;”

    “on holiday”

  • On (preposition)

    Denoting performance or action by contact with the surface, upper part, or outside of anything; hence, by means of; with.

    “to play on a violin or piano”

    “Her words made a lasting impression on my mind.”

  • On (preposition)

    Regularly taking (a drug).

    “You’ve been on these antidepressants far too long.”

    “He’s acting so strangely, I think he must be on something.”

  • On (preposition)

    Under the influence of (a drug).

    “He’s acting crazy because he’s on crack right now.”

  • On (preposition)

    Having identical domain and codomain.

    “a function on”

  • On (preposition)

    Having V^n as domain and V as codomain, for some set V and integer n.

    “an operator on”

  • On (preposition)

    Generated by.

    “the free group on four letters”

  • On (preposition)

    Supported by (the specified part of itself).

    “A table can’t stand on two legs.”

    “After resting on his elbows, he stood on his toes, then walked on his heels.”

  • On (preposition)

    In addition to; besides; indicating multiplication or succession in a series.

    “heaps on heaps of food”

    “mischief on mischief; loss on loss”

  • On (preposition)


  • On (preposition)

    At the peril of, or for the safety of.

  • On (preposition)

    In the service of; connected with; of the number of.

    “He is on a newspaper; I am on the committee.”

  • On (preposition)

    By virtue of; with the pledge of.

    “He affirmed or promised on his word, or on his honour.”

  • On (preposition)

    To the account or detriment of; denoting imprecation or invocation, or coming to, falling, or resting upon.

    “On us be all the blame.”

    “A curse on him!”

    “Please don’t tell on her and get her in trouble.”

    “He turned on her and has been her enemy ever since.”

    “He went all honest on me, making me listen to his confession.”

  • On (preposition)

    Against; in opposition to.

  • On (preposition)


  • On (verb)

    to switch on

    “Can you on the light?”

    “turn on”

  • On (noun)

    In the Japanese language, a pronunciation, or reading, of a kanji character that was originally based on the character’s pronunciation in Chinese, contrasted with kun.

    “Most kanji have two kinds of reading, called “on” and “kun”.”

  • In (preposition)

    Used to indicate location, inclusion, or position within spatial, temporal or other limits.

  • In (preposition)

    Contained by.

    “The dog is in the kennel.”

  • In (preposition)


  • In (preposition)

    At the end of a period of time.

    “They said they would call us in a week.”

  • In (preposition)

    Within a certain elapsed time

    “Are you able to finish this in three hours?”

    “The massacre resulted in over 1000 deaths in three hours.”

  • In (preposition)

    During (said of periods of time).

    “in the first week of December;”

    “Easter falls in the fourth lunar month;”

    “The country reached a high level of prosperity in his first term.”

  • In (preposition)


    “Less water gets in your boots this way.”

  • In (preposition)

    Used to indicate limit, qualification, condition, or circumstance.

    “In replacing the faucet washers, he felt he was making his contribution to the environment.”

  • In (preposition)

    Coming at the end of a word.

    “English nouns in -ce form their plurals in -s.”

  • In (preposition)

    Indicating an order or arrangement.

    “My fat rolls around in folds.”

  • In (preposition)

    Denoting a state of the subject.

    “He stalked away in anger.”

    “John is in a coma.”

  • In (preposition)

    Indicates, connotatively, a place-like form of someone’s (or something’s) personality, as his, her or its psychic and physical characteristics.

    “You’ve got a friend in me.”

    “He’s met his match in her.”

  • In (preposition)

    Used to indicate means, medium, format, genre, or instrumentality.

  • In (preposition)

    Wearing (an item of clothing).

    “I glanced over at the pretty girl in the red dress.”

  • In (preposition)

    In the form of, in the denomination of.

    “Please pay me in cash — preferably in tens and twenties.”

    “The deposit can be in any legal tender, even in gold.”

    “Her generosity was rewarded in the success of its recipients.”

  • In (verb)

    To enclose.

  • In (verb)

    To take in; to harvest.

  • In (adverb)

    Located indoors, especially at home or the office, or inside something.

    “Is Mr. Smith in?”

  • In (adverb)

    Moving to the interior of a defined space, such as a building or room.

    “Suddenly a strange man walked in.”

  • In (adverb)

    Still eligible to play, e.g. able to bat in cricket and baseball.

    “He went for the wild toss but wasn’t able to stay in.”

  • In (adverb)

    Abbreviation of in aid of.

    “What’s that in?”

  • In (adverb)

    After the beginning of something.

  • In (noun)

    A position of power or a way to get it.

    “His parents got him an in with the company”

  • In (noun)

    The state of a batter/batsman who is currently batting – see innings

  • In (noun)

    A re-entrant angle; a nook or corner.

  • In (noun)

    abbreviation of inch

  • In (adjective)

    In fashion; popular.

    “Skirts are in this year.”

  • In (adjective)


    “the in train”

  • In (adjective)

    Furled or stowed.

  • In (adjective)

    With privilege or possession; used to denote a holding, possession, or seisin.

    “in by descent; in by purchase; in of the seisin of her husband”

  • In (adjective)

    Currently batting.

  • In (adjective)

    Having familiarity or involvement with somebody.

  • In (preposition)

    expressing the situation of something that is or appears to be enclosed or surrounded by something else

    “dressed in their Sunday best”

    “she saw the bus in the rear-view mirror”

    “I’m living in London”

  • In (preposition)

    expressing motion with the result that something ends up within or surrounded by something else

    “don’t put coal in the bath”

    “he got in his car and drove off”

  • In (preposition)

    expressing a period of time during which an event happens or a situation remains the case

    “they met in 1885”

    “I hadn’t seen him in years”

    “at one o’clock in the morning”

  • In (preposition)

    expressing the length of time before a future event is expected to happen

    “I’ll see you in fifteen minutes”

  • In (preposition)

    (often followed by a noun without a determiner) expressing a state or condition

    “I’ve got to put my affairs in order”

    “to be in love”

    “a woman in her thirties”

  • In (preposition)

    indicating the quality or aspect with respect to which a judgement is made

    “no discernible difference in quality”

  • In (preposition)

    expressing inclusion or involvement

    “I read it in a book”

    “acting in a film”

  • In (preposition)

    indicating someone’s occupation or profession

    “she works in publishing”

  • In (preposition)

    indicating the language or medium used

    “put it in writing”

    “say it in French”

  • In (preposition)

    indicating the key in which a piece of music is written

    “Mozart’s Piano Concerto in E flat”

  • In (preposition)

    as an integral part of (an activity)

    “in planning public expenditure it is better to be prudent”

  • In (preposition)

    expressing a value as a proportion of (a whole)

    “a local income tax running at six pence in the pound”

  • In (adverb)

    expressing movement with the result that someone or something becomes enclosed or surrounded by something else

    “come in”

    “presently the admiral breezed in”

  • In (adverb)

    expressing the situation of being enclosed or surrounded by something

    “we were locked in”

  • In (adverb)

    expressing arrival

    “the train got in very late”

  • In (adverb)

    (of the tide) rising or at its highest level.

  • In (adjective)

    present at one’s home or office

    “we knocked at the door but there was no one in”

  • In (adjective)


    “the in thing to do”

    “pastels and light colours are in this year”

  • In (adjective)

    (of the ball in tennis and similar games) landing within the designated playing area.

  • In (adjective)


    “which side is in?”

  • In (noun)

    a position of influence with someone powerful or famous

    “she got an in with the promising new artist”

Oxford Dictionary

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