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come on - definition and synonyms

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90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.

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phrasal verb
Word Forms
present tense
I/you/we/theycome on
he/she/itcomes on
present participlecoming on
past tensecame on
past participlecome on
  1. 1
    [intransitive] to develop or make progress

    How’s the building work coming on?

    come on with:

    She’s coming on fine with her music.

    1. a.
      to improve

      His French has really come on since last year.

  2. 2
    [intransitive] to start working by being switched on

    I saw a light come on in an upstairs window.

    1. a.
      to start to be broadcast

      We all had to be quiet when the news came on.

  3. 3
    [intransitive] to appear on a stage

    When he came on, the audience finally began to show some interest.

    1. a.
      to appear on television, or to be heard on the radio

      Then the president comes on and tells everyone to spend more money.

    2. b.
      to arrive on a sports field in order to replace another member of your team

      He came on as a substitute.

      Miller came on for Thompson in the 75th minute of the game.

  4. 4
    if something such as rain or snow comes on, it starts to fall
    it comes on to do something:

    It came on to rain.

  5. 5
    [intransitive] if an illness comes on, it starts to affect you

    I can feel another headache coming on.

  6. 6
    come on spoken
    1. a.
      used for telling someone to hurry

      Come on! We’re going to be late.

    2. b.
      used for encouraging someone to do something such as make a greater effort or stop being sad

      Come on! It’s not the end of the world.

    3. c.
      used for telling someone that you do not believe what they are saying

      Oh, come on! Only a fool would believe a story like that!

  7. 7
    come on strong informal to show very clearly that you are determined to do something, especially to start a sexual relationship with someone
See also main entry: come
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