come on

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See also: come-on



  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈkʌm ˌɔːn/, /-on/, unstressed: /kəm-/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈkʌm ˌɔn/, /-ɒːn/, /-ɑːn/, unstressed: /kəm-/
  • (file)


come on (plural come ons)

  1. Alternative spelling of come-on



come on (third-person singular simple present comes on, present participle coming on, simple past came on, past participle come on)

  1. (transitive) To encounter, discover; to come upon.
    Synonym: come across
    Turning the corner, I came on Julia sitting by the riverbank.
  2. (intransitive) To appear on a stage or in a performance.
    I think he's coming on too late after my line.
  3. (transitive, intransitive) To be broadcast (through a device), or (of a broadcast) to begin playing.
    I was going to turn off the TV, but my favorite show came on.
    A salsa song came on the radio.
  4. (intransitive) To progress, to develop.
    The new garden is coming on nicely.
  5. (intransitive, of an electric or electronic device, especially a light) To activate; to turn on.
    The light came on as soon as I flicked the switch.
    She pressed the power button and waited for the screen to come on.
  6. (intransitive, idiomatic, with to) To show sexual or relational interest through words or sometimes actions.
    Synonyms: hit on, pass, proposition
    She started coming on to me as soon as my wife left the room.
    • 1988, Julie Brown, Charlie Coffey, Terrence E. McNally, Earth Girls Are Easy (motion picture), spoken by Valerie (Geena Davis):
      Wait a minute. Are you like coming on to me? Is this a pass? Because, I mean, if it is, sex is like totally out of the question.
    • 1992, “Babies”, in Jarvis Cocker (lyrics), His 'n' Hers, performed by Pulp:
      And so you went with Neve / Oh yeah, and Neve was coming on
  7. (intransitive, idiomatic, colloquial, UK) To get one's period, start menstruating.
    • 2009, Jenny Diski, “Short cuts”, in London Review of Books, XXXI.20:
      Overall, menstrual modernity in the form of a more efficient throwaway technology was seized on and celebrated, as was the opportunity to send your man off to the shop to get it if you came on suddenly.
  8. (sports, of a substitute) To enter the playing field.
    • 2011 February 12, Nabil Hassan, “Blackburn 0-0 Newcastle”, in BBC[1]:
      Blackburn made their third and final substitution with 25 minutes remaining, with Brett Emerton coming on for Dunn as they looked for ways to stem the Newcastle tide.
    • 2023 November 11, Matthew Howarth, “Arsenal 3-1 Burnley”, in BBC Sport:
      One of few positives from a Burnley perspective was a first appearance of the season for forward Michael Obafemi, who came on with five minutes remaining after recovering from a long-term hamstring injury
  9. (intransitive, informal, with adverbial words such as in, by, round, over, up, down) Elaboration of come (in the sense of move towards the speaker or other focus), emphasising motion or progress, or conveying a nuance of familiarity or encouragement.
    Don't just stand there on the doorstep. Come on in!
    Don't leave without coming on round to see the baby.
    You told me to come on over whenever I get the chance, and here I am!
    Come on up to my place on the third floor.
    Please come on home.
  10. Used other than figuratively or idiomatically: see come,‎ on.

Derived terms[edit]



come on

  1. Come along with me; join me in going.
    I'll show you where the auditorium is. Come on!
  2. Synonym of let's go, a cheer or expression of support, encouragement, &c.
    Come on, George! You can win!
  3. An expression of disbelief.
    Synonyms: come off it, shut up, c'mon, get out of here, no way; see also Thesaurus:bullshit
    Come on! You can't possibly expect me to believe that.
  4. An expression of frustration, exasperation, or impatience; hurry up.
    Aw, come on! Get on with it!
    Come on, we don't want to miss the train!
  5. An expression of defiance or as a challenge; approach; come at me.
    Come on! I'm not afraid of you.
    • 1847, John Maddison Morton, Box and Cox:
      BOX: [] Hark ye, sir—can you fight?
      COX: No, sir.
      BOX: No? Then come on

Alternative forms[edit]


  • Portuguese: camone


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.