Why was clemency trending last week?


[on-too, awn-; unstressed on-tuh, awn-] /ˈɒn tu, ˈɔn-; unstressed ˈɒn tə, ˈɔn-/
to a place or position on; upon; on:
to get onto a horse.
Informal. in or into a state of awareness about:
I'm onto your scheme.
Also, surjective. Mathematics. pertaining to a function or map from one set to another set, the range of which is the entire second set.
Origin of onto
1575-85; on + to
Can be confused
on, onto, on to.


a combining form meaning “being,” used in the formation of compound words:
Also, especially before a vowel, ont-.
< New Latin < Greek ont- (stem of ón, neuter present participle of eînai to be) + -o- -o- Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for onto
  • Slide a whole salmon fillet onto the grill, along with vegetable skewers.
  • And perhaps now another box can be checked: the practice of bribing one's way onto the charts.
  • Early whales plied the shallows but still hauled themselves onto shore, probably to rest and to give birth.
  • Yahoo isn't happy that a detailed menu of the spying services it provides law enforcement agencies has leaked onto the web.
  • Often something pops up in the conclusion that you can latch onto.
  • Moving out of the laboratory and onto the water, with a working oil-collection system, is the next step.
  • So they are going to slide the locomotive onto the back of the flatbed while it's still indoors.
  • Blot any juice from the cut end, then tap it onto your ink pad to cover the star's entire surface.
  • Print out the carousel card onto a card-weight paper stock.
  • These vibrations shake the pollen off the flower's anthers and onto the bee's body.
British Dictionary definitions for onto


/ˈɒntʊ; unstressed ˈɒntə/
to a position that is on: step onto the train as it passes
having become aware of (something illicit or secret): the police are onto us
into contact with: get onto the factory
Usage note
Onto is now generally accepted as a word in its own right. On to is still used, however, where on is considered to be part of the verb: he moved on to a different town as contrasted with he jumped onto the stage


combining form
existence or being: ontogeny, ontology
Word Origin
from Late Greek, from ōn (stem ont-) being, present participle of einai to be
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for onto

1580s, as on to, from on + to. Appeared much later than parallel into. As a closed compound (on analogy of into), first recorded 1715.


word-forming element meaning "a being, individual; being, existence," from Greek onto-, from stem of on (genitive ontos) "being," neuter present participle of einai "to be" (see essence).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
onto in Medicine

onto- or ont-
Organism; being: ontogeny.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source
onto in Technology
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for onto

Most English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for onto

Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with onto

Nearby words for onto