a suffix used in the names of subatomic particles (gluon; meson; neutron ), quanta (graviton ), and other minimal entities or components (cistron; codon; magneton; photon ).

probably extracted from ion; cf. proton

Dictionary.com Unabridged


a suffix used in the naming of inert gaseous elements: neon.

Greek -on, neuter of -os adj. ending

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To -on
World English Dictionary
suffix forming nouns
1.  indicating a chemical substance: interferon; parathion
2.  (in physics) indicating an elementary particle or quantum: electron; photon
3.  (in chemistry) indicating an inert gas: neon; radon
4.  (in biochemistry) a molecular unit: codon; operon
[from ion]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

subatomic particle suffix, from ion.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

-on 1

  1. A subatomic particle: neutron.

  2. A unit: photon.

  3. A basic hereditary unit: codon.

-on 2
Inert gas: radon.

-on 3
A chemical compound that is not a ketone or a compound that contains oxygen in a carbonyl group: parathion.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source
Nearby Words
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature