on earth


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on earth

An intensifier used to emphasize surprise, shock, anger, disgust, etc. How on earth am I supposed to read this entire book in one week? What on earth were you thinking, driving across the state in the middle of the night?
See also: earth, on

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

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