right on: Idiom Meaning and Origin

What does ‘right on’ mean?

The idiom "right on" is used to express agreement or approval with something that has been said or done. It is an informal phrase often used in casual conversations to indicate support or enthusiasm.

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The Significance

Right on is an idiomatic expression commonly used in American English. It originated in the 1960s and became popular as a way to express agreement or affirmation. The exact etymology of this phrase is uncertain, but it is believed to have originated in African American slang before entering mainstream usage.

The phrase right on is an example of a phrasal verb, in which the two words together create a new meaning that is different from the individual meanings of the words. In this case, right on is used to convey enthusiastic approval or agreement.

The use of right on is similar to the idiomatic expressions "there you go", "on the money", "on the mark", and "dead on". These phrases all convey the same sense of accuracy or correctness. They can be used interchangeably to show agreement or approval, just like right on. So, when someone says "there you go", "on the money", "on the mark", or "dead on", they are essentially saying the same thing as right on.

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This idiomatic expression gained prominence during the counterculture movement of the 1960s, when it was frequently used by activists and advocates for social change. It was often used as a rallying cry or slogan to express support for various causes and movements.

Over time, the usage of right on has evolved and it is now commonly used in everyday conversations. It has become a part of informal speech and is frequently used in casual settings. It is often used as a way to show agreement or encouragement.

The phrase right on has also been adapted into other forms, such as the shortened form "right" or the slang term "roight." These variations retain the same basic meaning of agreement or approval. Similarly, when someone says "there you go", "on the money", "on the mark", or "dead on", they are using different words but conveying the same sentiment as right on.

So, next time you hear someone say right on, there you go, on the money, on the mark, or dead on, remember that they are all expressing agreement or approval. It's a way for them to say "yes", "I agree", or "you're correct" in a casual and friendly manner.

Overall, the idiomatic expression right on has its origins in African American slang and gained popularity during the counterculture movement of the 1960s. It is used to express agreement or affirmation and has become a common phrase in contemporary American English. While its exact etymology remains unclear, right on continues to be used in everyday conversations and retains its original meaning of enthusiastic approval or agreement.

Example usage


  • "She nailed the presentation! Right on!"
  • "You got that answer right on! Well done!"
  • "I couldn't have said it better myself. Right on!"


The idiom "right on" is often used to express agreement, approval, or acknowledgement of someone's correctness or accuracy in a statement, action, or achievement. It is commonly used to show support or admiration for someone's accomplishments or to acknowledge a precise or accurate response. The phrase is usually used informally and casually, indicating enthusiasm or agreement in a more laid-back manner.

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