"concerning, about, in respect or reference to," c. 1200, onont "on level with, beside," also "in the company of, fronting against," a contraction of Old English on efn "near to, close by," literally "on even (ground with);" see a- (1) + even (adj.).
Sometimes anents, with adverbial genitive. The unetymological -t was added 12c. Compare German neben "near to, by the side of," short for in eben, from Old High German ebani "equality."
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