up·on | \ ə-ˈpȯn , -ˈpän \

Definition of upon 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: on


up·on | \ ə-ˈpȯn , -ˈpän \

Definition of upon (Entry 2 of 2)

1 obsolete : on the surface : on it

2 obsolete : thereafter, thereon

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for upon

Synonyms: Preposition

against, on

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of upon in a Sentence


He carefully placed the vase upon the table. They built their city upon a cliff overlooking the sea. She was seated upon a throne. an assault upon traditional values She was admitted to his office immediately upon her arrival. That kind of behavior is frowned upon.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Preposition

The Trumps did not appear to bow and curtsy upon greeting the Queen. Abby Gardner, Glamour, "Tea With Queen Elizabeth II and a Giant Baby Trump—a President's London Itinerary," 13 July 2018 That power seems to have redoubled his insistence upon shaking up long-standing alliances across the Atlantic. Aaron Blake, Washington Post, "Trump is threatening the Western alliance. And Republicans have no will to stop him.," 13 July 2018 The Brewers had just dropped a 6-3 decision to Pittsburgh but Jeffress' teammates erupted in cheers upon getting that news. Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Better late than never: Brewers reliever Jeremy Jeffress gets the all-star honor he earned," 12 July 2018 But upon visiting the Russian capital this week as part of a brief promotional visit arranged by Fox Sports, the Americans' head coach took in the World Cup spirit that will resurface on a smaller scale in 2019. Steven Goff, chicagotribune.com, "U.S. women's soccer is one year from the World Cup. It seems closer for coach Jill Ellis.," 12 July 2018 The agreements would be contingent upon the RNC awarding the convention to Charlotte. Jim Morrill And Steve Harrison, charlotteobserver, "After flurry of criticism, Charlotte council will vote on deals for RNC convention," 11 July 2018 President Trump has pardoned the two ranchers who, upon being sentenced for intentionally and maliciously setting fires on public lands, sparked an armed occupation of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in 2016. Aubrey Nagle, Philly.com, "ICE protester sues Philly police, young Pa. farmers shake up industry | Morning Newsletter," 11 July 2018 Our hope is that people upon watching the movie will want to own these pieces. Jen Ortiz, Marie Claire, "Tessa Thompson Talks "Sorry to Bother You," Her New Sci-Fi Comedy Flick," 10 July 2018 Ditko moved to New York in 1950 upon learning that Robinson was teaching at the Cartoonists and Illustrators School in the city. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "Steve Ditko, the co-creator of Spider-Man and Doctor Strange, is dead.," 7 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'upon.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of upon


12th century, in the meaning defined above


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about upon

Statistics for upon

Last Updated

14 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for upon

The first known use of upon was in the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for upon

English Language Learners Definition of upon

—used to say that someone or something is very close or has arrived

—used to emphasize something that is repeated many times

up·on | \ ə-ˈpȯn , ə-ˈpän \

Kids Definition of upon

: on entry 1 I put the plate upon the table. … she was glad to be an ordinary person who would never be called upon for courage. —Lois Lowry, Number the Stars

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on upon

What made you want to look up upon? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to deposit or conceal in a hiding place

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Food Quiz

How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!