[ uh-pon, uh-pawn ]
/ əˈpɒn, əˈpɔn /


up and on; upward so as to get or be on: He climbed upon his horse and rode off.
in an elevated position on: There is a television antenna upon every house in the neighborhood.
in or into complete or approximate contact with, as an attacker or an important or pressing occasion: The enemy was upon us and our soldiers had little time to escape. The Christmas holiday will soon be upon us and we have hardly begun to buy gifts. The time to take action is upon us.
immediately or very soon after: She went into mourning upon her husband's death.
on the occasion of: She was joyful upon seeing her child take his first steps.
on (in any of various senses, used as an equivalent of on with no added idea of ascent or elevation, and preferred in certain cases only for euphonic or metrical reasons): He swore upon his honor as a gentleman.

Origin of upon

1150–1200; Middle English; see up (adv.), on (preposition)

Definition for upon (2 of 2)

Origin of up

before 900; Middle English up(pe) (adv.), Old English up(p) to a higher position, uppe in a higher position; cognate with Old Frisian up, Old Saxon up, Middle Dutch up, op, Old Norse upp; akin to Old High German ūf (> German auf), Gothic iup
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Examples from the Web for upon

British Dictionary definitions for upon (1 of 3)

/ (əˈpɒn) /


another word for on
indicating a position reached by going upclimb upon my knee
imminent forthe weekend was upon us again

Word Origin for upon

C13: from up + on

British Dictionary definitions for upon (2 of 3)

Word Origin for up

Old English upp; related to Old Saxon, Old Norse up, Old High German ūf, Gothic iup

usage for up

The use of up before until is redundant and should be avoided: the talks will continue until (not up until) 23rd March

British Dictionary definitions for upon (3 of 3)


abbreviation for

United Press
Uttar Pradesh
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Idioms and Phrases with upon (1 of 2)


see act on (upon); call on (upon); chance on (upon); come across (upon); come on (upon); count on (upon); dawn on (upon); dwell on (upon); enter on (upon); fall back on (upon); fall on (upon); grow on (upon); hard on (upon); hit on (upon); incumbent upon; light on (upon); once upon a time; pitch on (upon); play on (upon); put upon; seize on (upon); set at (upon); take it upon oneself; wait on (upon); weigh on (upon); work on (upon).

Idioms and Phrases with upon (2 of 2)


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.