be onto (something)

(redirected from they're onto something)

be onto (something)

1. To have knowledge, be suspicious, or be aware of something deceptive or underhanded. You'd better tread carefully—I'm onto you now. The police are onto us! Everybody run!
2. To discover, realize, or be in the process of doing something of great importance, value, or insight. Great work on this essay, Lindsay. I really think you're onto something here. Scientists now believe they may be onto a cure for cancer.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

be on to

1. Be aware of or have information about, as in They can't pull that trick again; we're on to them now. [Colloquial; second half of 1800s]
2. Discover something important or profitable, as in The researchers claim they are really on to something big. [Colloquial; mid-1900s]
See also: on, to
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

be on to something

have an idea or information that is likely to lead to an important discovery. informal
See also: on, something, to
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

be ˈonto something

know about something or be in a situation that could lead to a good result for you: Researchers believe that they are onto something big.She’s onto a good thing with that new job.
See also: something
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

be onto

v.
To be in the process of finding or understanding something: I'm not sure, but I may be onto a solution to this math problem. The gang was afraid that the police were onto them.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

be on to

Informal
To be aware of or have information about: You'll never deceive us again; we're on to you.
See also: on, to
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
See also: