Word Origin & History
"concerning, about," early 13c., onont "on level with," also "in the company of, fronting against," from O.E. on efn "on even (ground) with;" the parasitic -t added 12c. A northern form (in Midlands, anenst, with adverbial genitive), affected by English writers in Scottish sense of "in respect or reference
to." Cf. Ger. neben "near to, by the side of," short for in eben, from O.H.G. ebani "equality."