up·​on | \ ə-ˈpȯn How to pronounce upon (audio) , -ˈpän \

Definition of upon

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: on


up·​on | \ ə-ˈpȯn How to pronounce upon (audio) , -ˈpän \

Definition of upon (Entry 2 of 2)

1 obsolete : on the surface : on it
2 obsolete : thereafter, thereon

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Synonyms for upon

Synonyms: Preposition

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Examples of upon in a Sentence

Preposition 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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Preposition On May 31, 1921, an angry white mob set upon and destroyed the wealthy, segregated Black community in North Tulsa known as the Greenwood District. Ellen Mcgirt, Fortune, 25 May 2021 In all seriousness, the saga of Frasier Crane and his put-upon brother Niles has held up marvelously. Brian Tallerico, Vulture, 4 Mar. 2021 The senior Hamas leader told CNN that the ceasefire will commence at 2am local time on Friday, though an official announcement from the Israeli Prime Minister's Officer said the ceasefire would go into effect at an hour to be agreed upon later. Amir Tal And Andrew Carey, CNN, 20 May 2021 They're subsequently set upon in the woods by the Drüskelle, the elite members of the Fjerdan military. Nick Schager, EW.com, 23 Apr. 2021 Burnout is a state of emotional and physical exhaustion that is brought upon by long periods of constant unrelenting stress. Jack Kelly, Forbes, 5 Apr. 2021 She was played by Shirley MacLaine in the 1983 film version of the novel, with Debra Winger as her put-upon daughter and Jack Nicholson as her ex-astronaut neighbor. Joe Holley, Anchorage Daily News, 26 Mar. 2021 She was played by Shirley MacLaine in the 1983 film version of the novel, with Debra Winger as her put-upon daughter and Jack Nicholson as her ex-astronaut neighbor. Washington Post, 26 Mar. 2021 Having an up-and-down-agreed-upon term to describe this type of show, or any show, would theoretically save time, as well as open doors. Nicholas Quah, Vulture, 2 Mar. 2021

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.

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First Known Use of upon


12th century, in the meaning defined above


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for upon

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for upon

Last Updated

6 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Upon.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/upon. Accessed 12 Jun. 2021.

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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 How to pronounce upon (audio) , 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

More from Merriam-Webster on upon

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for upon

Nglish: Translation of upon for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of upon for Arabic Speakers


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