On song

What’s the meaning of the phrase ‘On song’?

Doing well. (In terms of playing, performing, functioning or operating.)

What’s the origin of the phrase ‘On song’?

The phrase ‘On song’ is relatively new, since it is believed to date from the 1960s. It is speculated that it may first have been used in a sporting context, since this is where it is most frequently used today.

The term is used to refer to performing at optimum efficiency. It is likely that the term arose because of how it alludes to being in tune to a song that’s playing, meeting the song note for note.

Alternative phrases might include ‘In good form’, ‘In full form’, ‘At peak’, or ‘Ready’. It can be used in asking a question about preparedness, or for describing how something went, or should go.

What are some notable uses of the phrase ‘On song’?

The greatest use of the phrase ‘On song’ can be found in sporting commentary. For instance, the former England international and renowned soccer pundit Gary Linekar frequently uses the phrase in his reflections and analysis on TV shows such as the iconic British soccer (and Premier League) highlights program ‘Match of the Day’.

It also crops up in sport documentaries, athlete biographies, and quotes from sport coaches and managers. This is not solely for soccer, but for all kinds of sports. 

The phrase also gets used in other contexts besides. For example, it could be used to describe performance in business, such as for projects, presentations, designs, and so forth. But perhaps more commonly, it is also used frequently to describe performances in theatre and performances from dancers, bands and musicians. 

Trend of on song in printed material over time

Cari Mayhew - Author at Phrase Finder

Cari Mayhew

Lifelong learner, phrase fanatic, and lover of literature across multiple genres. Cari Mayhew has a passion for expression, and a keen curiosity for how phrases begin and how their use transforms over time. She is often found looking for the ideal idiom to convey her thoughts and musings.