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Related to onto: hang onto


to place or position upon: He put his glasses onto the table.; to be aware of: I’m onto your wily ways.
Not to be confused with:
on to – go forward: moved on to the next phase
Abused, Confused, & Misused Words by Mary Embree Copyright © 2007, 2013 by Mary Embree


 (ŏn′to͞o′, -tə, ôn′-)
1. On top of; to a position on; upon: The dog jumped onto the chair.
2. Informal Fully aware of; informed about: The police are onto the robbers' plans.
adj. Mathematics
Of, relating to, or being a function such that every element of the codomain is the value that corresponds to an element in the domain.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


(ˈɒntʊ; unstressed ˈɒntə) or

on to

1. to a position that is on: step onto the train as it passes.
2. having become aware of (something illicit or secret): the police are onto us.
3. into contact with: get onto the factory.
Usage: 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
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(ˈɒn tu, ˈɔn-; unstressed ˈɒn tə, ˈɔn-)

1. to a place or position on; upon; on.
2. Informal. aware of the true nature, motive, or meaning of: I'm onto your tricks.
3. Math. pertaining to a function or map from one set to another set, the range of which is the entire second set.


a combining form meaning “being”: ontogeny.
[< New Latin < Greek]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.


You usually use the preposition onto to say where someone or something falls or is put.

He fell down onto the floor.
Place the bread onto a large piece of clean white cloth.

After many verbs you can use either onto or on with the same meaning.

I fell with a crash onto the road.
He fell on the floor with a thud.
She poured some shampoo onto my hair.
Carlo poured ketchup on the beans.

However, after verbs meaning climb or lift you should use onto, rather than 'on'.

She climbed up onto his knee.
The little boy was helped onto the piano stool.

If you hold onto something, you put your hand round it or against it in order to avoid falling. After verbs meaning hold, you use onto as a preposition and on as an adverb.

She had to hold onto the edge of the table.
I couldn't put up my umbrella and hold on at the same time.
We were both hanging onto the side of the boat.
He had to hang on to avoid being washed overboard.

Onto is sometimes written as two words on to.

She sank on to a chair.
Collins COBUILD English Usage © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 2004, 2011, 2012
ombord påop på
jhk suuntaan tai paikkaan
ở trêntrên


[ˈɒntʊ] PREP
1. (= on top of) → a, sobre, en, arriba de (LAm)
he got onto the tablese subió a la mesa
2. (= on track of) to be onto sthhaber encontrado algo, seguir una pista interesante
he knows he's onto a good thingsabe que ha encontrado algo que vale la pena
the police are onto the villainla policía tiene una pista que le conducirá al criminal
we're onto themles conocemos el juego
they were onto him at oncele calaron en seguida, le identificaron en el acto
3. (= in touch with) I'll get onto him about itinsistiré con él, se lo recordaré
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


on to [ˈɒntu ˈɒntuː ˈɒntə] prepsur
to get onto sth [+ bus, train, plane] → monter dans qch
We got onto the bus and sat down → Nous sommes montés dans le bus et nous sommes assis.
to be onto sth → être sur un coup
to be onto something big → être sur un gros coup
Archaeologists knew they were onto something big → Les archéologues savaient qu'ils étaient sur un gros coup., Les archéologues pressentaient qu'ils étaient en train de découvrir quelque chose d'important.
to be onto sb → être après qn
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


(= upon, on top of)auf (+acc); (on sth vertical) → an (+acc); to clip something onto somethingetw an etw (acc)anklemmen; to get onto the committeein den Ausschuss kommen
(in verbal expressions, see also vb +on) to get/come onto a subjectauf ein Thema zu sprechen kommen; to come onto the marketauf den Markt kommen; are you onto the next chapter already?sind Sie schon beim nächsten Kapitel?; when will you get onto the next chapter?wann kommen Sie zum nächsten Kapitel?; the windows look onto the lakedie Fenster gehen zur Seeseite hinaus; to be onto or on to somebody (= find sb out)jdm auf die Schliche gekommen sein (inf); (police) → jdm auf der Spur sein; I think we’re onto somethingich glaube, hier sind wir auf etwas gestoßen
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007


[ˈɒntʊ] prepsu, sopra
he climbed onto the table → è salito sopra il tavolo
to be onto sb (fam) (suspect) → scoprire qn
I'm onto something (fam) → sono su una buona pista
to be onto a good thing (fam) → trovare l'America
I'll get onto him about it → gliene parlerò io
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995


عَلَى, في do, na ombord på, op på auf, in πάνω, σε a, en, hacia jhk suuntaan tai paikkaan dans, sur na, u su ・・・に, ・・・の上へ ~에, ~위로 in, op oppi, do, na entrar, para, para cima de на, upp เข้าไปยัง, ไปบน ne, üzerine ở trên, trên 到…之上, 到…里面
Multilingual Translator © HarperCollins Publishers 2009
References in classic literature ?
The wind blew sharply onto Nikita's side and arm where his sheepskin was torn.
At times they came onto bare fields and the sledge-runners rattled over frozen lumps of earth.
"Ah, Jimmie, what do yehs t'ink I got onto las' night.
Kouzma, waked up by her, came sidling sleepily out onto the steps.
Levin went into the pen, looked Pava over, and lifted the red and spotted calf onto her long, tottering legs.
A few minutes later, a sharp-eyed lad ran into the Monte Rosa Hotel, at Zermatt, saying that he had seen an avalanche fall from the summit of the Matterhorn onto the Matterhorn glacier.
They passed from our sight uninjured, disappeared one by one, and fell from the precipice to precipice onto the Matterhorn glacier below, a distance of nearly four thousand feet in height.
Then she wrote a short, simple note, and with Laurie's help, got them smuggled onto the study table one morning before the old gentleman was up.
I reached and got the paper, and then we stood up and waited perfectly still; Bud never stirred; I turned the key of the outside door very soft and slow, then turned the knob the same way, and we went tiptoeing out onto the guard, and shut the door very soft and gentle.
These gentlemen ride onto the bridge alone and wave white handkerchiefs; they assure the officer on duty that they, the marshals, are on their way to negotiate with Prince Auersperg.
First you wrap a layer or two of blanket around your body, for a sort of cushion and to keep off the cold iron; then you put on your sleeves and shirt of chain mail -- these are made of small steel links woven together, and they form a fabric so flexible that if you toss your shirt onto the floor, it slumps into a pile like a peck of wet fish-net; it is very heavy and is nearly the uncomfortablest material in the world for a night shirt, yet plenty used it for that -- tax collectors, and reformers, and one-horse kings with a defective title, and those sorts of people; then you put on your shoes -- flat-boats roofed over with interleaving bands of steel -- and screw your clumsy spurs into the heels.
The Ant climbed onto it and floated in safety to the bank.