on earth


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on earth

 and in creation; in the world
Fig. really; indeed; in fact. (Used as an intensifier after who, what, when, where, how.) What on earth do you mean?' How in creation do you expect me to do that? Who in the world do you think you are?
See also: earth, on

on earth

in any conditions in the world What on earth makes you say that? Why on earth would she ask you to join them? How on earth did you survive the heat? Who on earth would want to collect rocks? Where on earth could Casey have learned such behavior?
Usage notes: used to express great surprise that something could happen or exist
See also: earth, on

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]
See also: earth, on

on earth

Among all the possibilities: Why on earth did you put on that outfit?
See also: earth, on
References in classic literature ?
The weight of these rifles is comparatively little, and with the small caliber, explosive, radium projectiles which they use, and the great length of the barrel, they are deadly in the extreme and at ranges which would be unthinkable on Earth.
The throwing down of his weapons and the withdrawing of his troop before his advance toward me would have signified a peaceful mission anywhere on Earth, so why not, then, on Mars!
They, too, in time reached Northumbria; so, side by side, Roman and Celt spoke the message of peace on earth, goodwill toward men.
He was Christian, he had learned the lesson of peace on earth, but he lived amid the clash of arms and sang them.
What on earth does Jane Davidson AM mean when she claims that "major onshore wind farms would make a significant contribution for the foreseeable future".