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 design, in which the dam is gradually built upon a reservoir of tailings, is also the cheapest one—and the most prone to failure, experts say. Rhiannon Hoyle, WSJ, "Vale Denied Having ‘Upstream’ Dams Ahead of Deadly Accident," 10 Feb. 2019 Depending upon factors like the tank size and discharge rate, your humidifier is designed for a certain room size. Rachel Rothman, Good Housekeeping, "The Best Humidifiers to Buy This Winter," 20 Dec. 2018 After asking a series of questions, Dr. Beau noticed his patient's tumbler sitting on the counter and upon taking a closer look, discovered mold hidden underneath the lid. Amanda Garrity, Good Housekeeping, "There's Mold Hiding in Your Travel Tumbler Lid — Here's Exactly How to Clean It Before You Get Sick," 26 Jan. 2019 The collaboration will build upon previous work between the social network and the regulator during the 2017 federal elections in Germany, Ms. Sandberg said. Sara Germano, WSJ, "Facebook, Germany to Collaborate Against Election Interference," 20 Jan. 2019 Every drip of Suerte tequila is built upon thousands of chisels strikes and hours of slow crushing. James Lynch, Popular Mechanics, "The Two-Ton Stone That's Made Tequila for Centuries," 28 Nov. 2018 Even the most experienced cruiser will have to throw out expectations upon embarking on the Scarlet Lady. Meredith Carey, Condé Nast Traveler, "We Can't Handle How Good the Food Will Be on Virgin Voyages," 7 Nov. 2018 Putnam, a former congressman, has run a more traditional campaign for governor, barnstorming the state with campaign events aimed at building upon his family's deep ties to the state. Samuel Chamberlain, Fox News, "Trump calls for voter ID, teases Iran talks at Florida rally boosting DeSantis, Scott," 2 Oct. 2018 So then, does the trio stick to the Goop-centric lifestyle upon which Gwyneth has built a thriving empire? Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "Gwyneth Paltrow Shares a Mom-Daughter Selfie With Apple—And They’re Practically Twins," 26 Sep. 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

16 Feb 2019

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

More from Merriam-Webster on upon

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with upon

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for upon

Spanish Central: Translation of upon

Nglish: Translation of upon for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of upon for Arabic Speakers

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).


a servile follower or underling

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What did you just call me?! A Quiz

  • rows-of-various-emoji
  • If a member of the audience describes your speech as bombastic, does that person mean it is:
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!