What does the idiom "on the air" mean?

Although the meanings of the words in them do not make any sense when examined one by one, the word groups that are shaped according to the cultural roots of the language and that make sense as a whole are called idioms. on the air meaning, in what situations is it used?

Meaning of "on the air"


The phrase “on the air” is typically used to describe a program that is currently airing on a radio or television broadcast. It is also sometimes used to describe a person who is on the air, meaning that they are a broadcaster, or are currently hosting a show on the air. In both of these cases, “on the air” typically implies that the program or individual is currently broadcasting, and may or may not continue to be broadcast in the near future.


The phrase “on the air” is believed to have originated in the early days of radio broadcasting. In the beginning, radio broadcasts were limited to only a few stations, and the term “on the air” was used to refer to programs that were being broadcast to a wide audience. As radio broadcasting became more widespread, the term “on the air” began to be used more generally to refer to any program that was currently being broadcast.


The phrase “on the air” is most commonly used in the context of radio or television broadcasting. It is typically used to refer to programs that are currently airing, though it can also be used to describe people who are currently working as broadcasters. For example, a radio station may advertise that their show is “on the air,” indicating that it is currently airing, or a news anchor may refer to themselves as being “on the air,” indicating that they are currently hosting their program. Additionally, it is sometimes used to refer to a program or individual who has recently aired or been on the air, or will air or be on the air in the near future.

Example Sentences

  • The show is currently on the air. Tune in now!
  • We're going on the air in five minutes, so get ready.
  • The broadcaster has been on the air for over 10 years.
  • The new show is scheduled to go on the air next month.

The meanings of the words in the "on the air" idiom

Beyond the Literal: Figurative Language in Idioms

Idioms often use figurative language to convey a message that is not meant to be taken literally. For instance, the idiom "bite the bullet" means to endure a painful or difficult situation without complaint, while "hold your horses" means to be patient and wait. Other idioms, like "kick the bucket" or "pop your clogs," use euphemisms to talk about death.


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