When one thing is on another it is touching and being held there, most often by gravity. We sit on things, like chairs, for instance. We place objects on other objects or on the ground. On is a ‘place’. The cup is on the saucer. They together are on the table. The table is on the floor. The floor is on the foundation and the house is on the lot of land. The land is shown on a map but is not on a map
On can refer to a place beside or near. There is a cottage on the sea does not mean actually on top of the water but by it. If the cottage is on the prairie then yes it is actually on top of a place in the prairie region. Subtle. When I say the cottage is on the map it is but a reference to a symbol representing the location of the cottage among all that is depicted on that map. In this case on means represented
When something is on my mind it is but a thought that I am noticing and is lingering. When we are told that a particular beverage is on tap, that means it is stored in a barrel and pumped to a tap so you can fill your glass. Sometimes a store may put something we want to buy on hold, they keep it for us. To be on time is to be where I promised to be, bringing forth what I promised. Being on is keeping my promises
I like to be on target, doing the thing I am supposed to do and doing it the way I am supposed to be doing it. That is better than being on the ropes, barely hanging on, failure imminent, gasping my last. To be on point is to be focused like a ballerina and winning the debate, making a strong, compelling case. To be ‘on’ is to be just right and at peak, scoring the goals, in the flow state of an athlete soaring over the bar
Lean on me the song invites. In this case the word ‘on’ points to the source of reliance. To be told that I can rely on you is a comfort. The very idea of not being alone feels good. You can count on me is assurance. On is a pointer. On what? On time means to be complete or having arrived at the designated time. When playing a drum set to accompany a tune, the drummer keeps the others on time.