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Webster 1913 Edition


Upon

Up-on′

,
p
rep.
[AS.
uppan
,
uppon
;
upp
up +
on
,
an
, on. See
Up
, and
On
.]
On; – used in all the senses of that word, with which it is interchangeable.
Upon an hill of flowers.”
Chaucer.
Our host
upon
his stirrups stood anon.
Chaucer.
Thou shalt take of the blood that is
upon
the altar.
Ex. xxix. 21.
The Philistines be
upon
thee, Samson.
Judg. xvi. 9.
As I did stand my watch
upon
the hill.
Shakespeare
He made a great difference between people that did rebel
upon
wantonness, and them that did rebel
upon
want.
Bacon.
This advantage we lost
upon
the invention of firearms.
Addison.
Upon
the whole, it will be necessary to avoid that perpetual repetition of the same epithets which we find in Homer.
Pope.
He had abandoned the frontiers, retiring
upon
Glasgow.
Sir. W. Scott.
Philip swore
upon
the Evangelists to abstain from aggression in my absence.
Landor.
Upon conveys a more distinct notion that on carries with it of something that literally or metaphorically bears or supports. It is less employed than it used to be, on having for the most part taken its place. Some expressions formed with it belong only to old style; as, upon pity they were taken away; that is, in consequence of pity: upon the rate of thirty thousand; that is, amounting to the rate: to die upon the hand; that is, by means of the hand: he had a garment upon; that is, upon himself: the time is coming fast upon; that is, upon the present time. By the omission of its object, upon acquires an adverbial sense, as in the last two examples.
To assure upon
(Law)
,
to promise; to undertake.
To come upon
.
See under
Come
.
To take upon
,
to assume.

Webster 1828 Edition


Upon

UPON'

, prep.
1.
Resting or being on the top or surface; as being upon a hill, or upon a rock; upon a field; upon a table; upon a river; upon the altar; upon the roof. He has his coat upon his back; his hat is upon his head.
2.
In a state of resting or dependence; as upon this condition; he will contract with you upon these terms. Upon our repentance we hope to be forgiven.
3.
Denoting resting, as a burden. Impose upon yourself this task.
4.
In the direction or part of; as upon the right hand.
5.
Relating to. They are now engaged upon the affairs of the bank.
6.
In consideration of; as upon the whole matter.
7.
Near to; as a village upon the Thames.
8.
With, or having received. He came upon an hour's warning.
9.
On the occasion of; engaged in for the execution of. He sent the officer upon a bold enterprise.
10.
In; during the time of; as upon the seventh day; upon the first of January.
11.
Noting security; as, to borrow money upon lands, or upon mortgage.
12.
Noting approach or attack.
The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. Judges 16.
13.
Noting exposure or incurring some danger or loss. You do this upon pain of death, or upon the penalties of the law.
14.
At the time of; on occasion of. What was their conduct upon this event?
15.
By inference from, or pursuing a certain supposition. Upon his principles, we can have no stable government.
16.
Engaged in. What is he upon?
17.
Having a particular manner. The horse is now upon a hard trot.
18.
Resting or standing, as on a condition. He is put upon his good behavior.
19.
Noting means of subsistence or support. Cattle live upon grass.
20.
Noting dependence for subsistence; as, paupers come upon the parish or town.
To take upon, to assume.
To assume upon, in law, to promise; to undertake.

Definition 2021


upon

upon

See also: up on

English

Alternative forms

Preposition

upon

  1. Being above and in contact with another.
    Place the book upon the table.
    • 1899, Hughes Mearns, Antigonish:
      Yesterday, upon the stair / I met a man who wasn’t there / He wasn’t there again today / I wish, I wish he’d go away 
  2. Being directly supported by another.
    The crew set sail upon the sea.
    She balanced upon one foot.
  3. Being followed by another so as to form a series.
    hours upon hours, years upon years
  4. At a prescribed point in time.
    The contract was rendered void upon his death.
  5. On.
    • 1898, Winston Churchill, chapter 5, in The Celebrity:
      Although the Celebrity was almost impervious to sarcasm, he was now beginning to exhibit visible signs of uneasiness, the consciousness dawning upon him that his eccentricity was not receiving the ovation it merited.
    • 1914, Louis Joseph Vance, Nobody, chapter I:
      Little disappointed, then, she turned attention to "Chat of the Social World," gossip which exercised potent fascination upon the girl's intelligence.

Usage notes

A somewhat elevated word; the simpler, more general term on is generally interchangeable, and more common in casual American speech. In poetic or legal contexts, upon is common.

Synonyms

  • (all senses): on
  • (time): at

Translations

Adverb

upon (not comparable)

  1. Being the target of an action.
    He was set upon by the agitated dogs
  2. Incidental to a specified point in time or order of action; usually combined with here-, there- or where-.
    The clock struck noon, whereupon the students proceeded to lunch.

Derived terms

Statistics

Most common English words before 1923: some · other · very · #68: upon · man · may · about