on earth

Idioms & Phrases

on earth

  1. Also, in creation; in the world. Ever, anywhere, of all possible things. These phrases are all used for emphasis in questions or, less often, in a negative context. For example, What on earth is he doing with a spade? or Where in creation did that child go? or How in the world do you expect me to carry all those bags? [Late 1700s]

  2. like nothing on earth. Incomparable. For example, That perfume smells like nothing on earth, or Her new hair color is like nothing on earth. [c. 1900]

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