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

against, on

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Preposition

Some may be looking to have that high-paying position immediately upon earning a degree, while others may anticipate a more gradual advancement to their dream job post-graduation. Michael Boyce, Cincinnati.com, "These 5 questions may help you choose your college major," 1 July 2019 Some customers hesitated before exiting their vehicles upon seeing the red tape, which is usually a sign of a more serious shooting. Alice Yin, chicagotribune.com, "Man, woman in critical condition after shooting in front of 7-Eleven in Chicago Lawn," 1 July 2019 Biden surged to first place in the polls immediately upon declaring his candidacy. Jelani Cobb, The New Yorker, "Democratic Debate 2019: Kamala Harris Exposed the Biden Weaknesses That Trump Will Exploit," 28 June 2019 Viewed as an athlete out of high school, Ellis was initially recruited as a defensive back before switching to offense upon arriving to campus. Akeem Glaspie, Indianapolis Star, "Freshman David Ellis could be a versatile weapon for IU," 26 June 2019 Henry, U-M’s junior co-ace, struck out eight batters, walked one, and received a heartfelt message from Bakich upon departing. Anthony Fenech, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan baseball's Jimmy Kerr, after rare words from champ grandpa, flexes in Game 1," 25 June 2019 Later, upon arriving in the heart of the city, Milexi saw a butcher cutting up chickens. Alice Driver, Longreads, "Oh, Girl!," 20 June 2019 The original deal saw sanctions on Iran lifted in exchange for limits on its nuclear program, but President Trump restored crippling sanctions against Iran upon pulling out of the accord, weakening the agreement altogether. Fox News, "Iran warns Europe it 'will take next step' to enrich uranium to weapons-grade level if new deal isn't reached," 4 July 2019 There has been a door slam, or two, upon leaving the Coors Field interview room after Colorado let a win slip through its fingers. Kyle Newman, The Denver Post, "Newman: Credit Bud Black’s steely demeanor for keeping Rockies on track amid roller-coaster first half," 3 July 2019

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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Statistics for upon

Last Updated

6 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for upon

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

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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

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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).


characterized by aphorism

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