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 But wagering on the election in the UK's legal betting market is soaring, setting up the US vote to be the most-bet-upon event in history. Chris Isidore, CNN, "Someone in the UK just put down a million-pound bet on Joe Biden," 2 Nov. 2020 This is what the Founding Fathers agreed upon at the Constitutional Convention in 1787. Josh Peter, USA TODAY, "The Electoral College can pick a president who got less votes. Here's why and how.," 24 Oct. 2020 Mandy sets out to find the owner of the book, letter, and coin with the help of Jonah (Bradford B. Johnson), a contractor who first came upon and donated the book. Dan Snierson, EW.com, "All the details on Lifetime's 30 Christmas movies: See first-look photos," 17 Sep. 2020 Terrified of the shame that having a baby out of wedlock would bring upon her pious grandmother, Lenora ends up taking her own life. Ineye Komonibo, refinery29.com, "Robert Pattinson’s Creepy Accent Might Be The Best Part Of The Devil All The Time," 17 Sep. 2020 There’s surprising depth in the supporting cast, where Brian Casey and Brian Akus shine as put-upon lackeys. Matthew J. Palm, orlandosentinel.com, "Semi-masked and silly, ‘Spamalot’ gets the job done | Review," 19 Sep. 2020 There is great concern on my part that the Black community has been just set upon with this virus in a way that none of the other races are experiencing. Crystal Milner, STAT, "‘It just weighs on your psyche’: Black Americans on mental health, trauma, and resilience," 6 July 2020 But as Debus noted back in 1965, the building was built to serve the nation's large rockets and would soon be called upon again. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "NASA’s most iconic building is 55 years old and just getting started," 5 July 2020 The result is a disjointed opinion from Roberts that simultaneously draws upon and undermines the 2016 ruling. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "John Roberts Chooses Precedent Over Ideology in Latest Abortion Fight," 29 June 2020

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

8 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Upon.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/upon. Accessed 26 Nov. 2020.

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More Definitions for upon

How to pronounce upon (audio)

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

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Comments on upon

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