be on to

Idioms & Phrases

be on to

  1. Be aware of or have information about, as in They can't pull that trick again; we're on to them now. [Colloquial; second half of 1800s]

  2. Discover something important or profitable, as in The researchers claim they are really on to something big. [Colloquial; mid-1900s]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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