[uh-pon, uh-pawn]


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)




to, toward, or in a more elevated position: to climb up to the top of a ladder.
to or in an erect position: to stand up.
out of bed: to get up.
above the horizon: The moon came up.
to or at any point that is considered higher.
to or at a source, origin, center, or the like: to follow a stream up to its source.
to or at a higher point or degree, as of rank, size, value, pitch, loudness, brightness, maturity, or speed: to move up in a firm; to pump up a tire; to turn a lantern up; Prices are going up. Speak up! Hurry up!
ahead; in a leading position in a competition: He managed to get up on his opponent by three points.
in continuing contact, especially as reflecting continuing awareness, knowledge, etc.: to keep up with the latest developments in mathematics.
into or in activity, operation, etc.: to set up vibrations.
into a state of emotional agitation or distress: His insults left her all roiled up.
into existence, visible form, etc.: His sample was worked up in the studio.
into view, prominence, or consideration: The lost papers have turned up.
into or in a place of safekeeping, storage, retirement, etc.: to lay up riches; to put up preserves.
into or in a state of union, contraction, etc.: to add up a column of figures; to fold up.
to the required or final point: to pay up one's debts; burned up.
to a state of completion; to an end: She finished it all up.
to a halt: The riders reined up and dismounted.
Baseball. being the player or team batting; at bat.
(used as a function word for additional emphasis, sometimes preceded by it): Go wake your father up. What plugged it up? We laughed it up.
ahead of an opponent or opponents in points, games, etc.: The golfer was two strokes up on his nearest competitor.
each; apiece: The score was seven up in the final quarter.
(of machines or equipment, as computers) working; in working order or in operation.
Informal. without the addition of ice; straight up: Bring me a martini, up.
Nautical. toward the wind: Put the helm up.


to, toward, or at an elevated place on or in: They went up the stairs. The cat is up the tree.
to, toward, or at a high or higher station, condition, or rank on or in: He is well up the social ladder.
at or to a farther point or higher place on or in: She is up the street. I'm going up the street.
toward the source, origin, etc., of: up the stream.
toward a particular direction or in the interior of, as a region or territory: The explorers were up north.
in a course or direction that is contrary to that of: to row up the current.


moving in or related to a direction that is up or is regarded as up: the up elevator; the up train traveling north; the up platform of a railroad station.
informed; familiar; aware (usually followed by on or in): She is always up on current events.
concluded; ended; finished; terminated: The game is up. Your hour is up.
going on or happening; taking place; occurring: What's up over there?
having a high position or station: He is up in society.
in an erect, vertical, or raised position: The gate at the railroad crossing is up. The tent is up.
above the earth or ground: The corn is up and ready to be harvested.
in the air; aloft: The meteorological balloons are up. The airplanes are up for their reconnaissance flights.
(of heavenly bodies) risen above the horizon: The sun is up.
awake or out of bed: to be up with insomnia.
mounted on horseback: He knows which jockeys are up in every race.
(of water in natural bodies) high with relation to the banks or shore: The tide is up.
built; constructed: The new museum is up and open to the public.
facing upward: He is resting and his face is up.
(of roads, highways, etc.) having the surface broken or removed (usually used in combination): a torn-up road.
in revolt, mutiny, or rebellious agitation: Many territories were up and preparing to send troops against the government.
in a state of agitation: Beware of him when his temper is up.
Informal. cheerful or optimistic; high-spirited; happy; exuberant; upbeat.
Informal. productive, favorable, or profitable: a string of up months for the company.
afoot or amiss: Her nervous manner told me that something was up.
in a state of enthusiastic or confident readiness (usually followed by for): The team was definitely up for the game.
bound; on the way: She was on a ship up for Australia.
resolved in an unfavorable or undesired way: They knew that their game was up.
higher than formerly in cost, amount, degree, etc.: The price of meat was up.
(of age) advanced (usually followed by in): He is rather spry for a man so up in years.
active: The captain wished to set sail as soon as the wind was up.
in a legal proceeding as defendant: He is up for murder.
in operation or ready for use: The theater's lights are up.
(of points or other standards used to determine the winner in a competition) ahead; in advance: He won the game with two points up over his opponent.
considered or under consideration: a candidate up for reelection; a bill that is up before Congress.
wagered; bet: He won all the money up in the game.
living or located inland or on elevated ground: They live in a village two miles up from the coast.
(used with a preceding numeral to indicate that a score is tied in a competition): It was 10 up at the end of the first half.
ahead of an opponent or opponents: They scored three times in a row to go two up.


an upward movement; ascent.
a rise of fortune, mood, etc.
a time of good fortune, prosperity, or happiness: He has had more ups than downs in his career.
an upbound means of public transportation, as a train or bus.
Informal. a feeling or state of happiness, exuberance, or elation.
a person or thing that is in a favorable position of wealth, fortune, etc.: People who were ups in the business world suffered losses in the economic depression.
an upward slope; elevation.
an upward course or rise, as in price or value: The landlord promised his tenants there would be no further ups in the rent this year.
Slang. upper2.

verb (used with object), upped, up·ping.

to put or take up.
to make larger; step up: to up output.
to raise; go better than (a preceding wager): to up the ante.

verb (used without object), upped, up·ping.

Informal. to start up; begin something abruptly (usually followed by and and another verb): Then he upped and ran away from home.
(often used imperatively or hortatively) to rise up: Up, men, and fight until all the enemy are defeated!

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. 2019

Examples from the Web for upon

Contemporary Examples of upon

Historical Examples of upon

British Dictionary definitions for upon



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



indicating movement from a lower to a higher positionclimbing up a mountain
at a higher or further level or position in or onsoot up the chimney; a shop up the road


(often particle) to an upward, higher, or erect position, esp indicating readiness for an activitylooking up at the stars; up and doing something
(particle) indicating intensity or completion of an actionhe tore up the cheque; drink up now!
to the place referred to or where the speaker isthe man came up and asked the way
  1. to a more important placeup to London
  2. to a more northerly placeup to Scotland
  3. (of a member of some British universities) to or at university
  4. in a particular part of the countryup north
above the horizonthe sun is up
appearing for trialup before the magistrate
having gainedten pounds up on the deal
higher in pricecoffee is up again
raised (for discussion, etc)the plan was up for consideration
taughtwell up in physics
(functioning as imperative) get, stand, etc, upup with you!
all up with informal
  1. over; finished
  2. doomed to die
up with (functioning as imperative) wanting the beginning or continuation ofup with the monarchy!
something's up informal something strange is happening
up against
  1. touching
  2. having to cope withlook what we're up against now
up and running in operation; functioning properly
up for
  1. as a candidate or applicant forhe's up for re-election again
  2. informalkeen or willing to tryshe's up for anything
up for it informal keen or willing to try something out or make a good effortit's a big challenge and I'm up for it
up to
  1. devising or scheming; occupied withshe's up to no good
  2. dependent or incumbent uponthe decision is up to you
  3. equal to (a challenge, etc) or capable of (doing, etc)are you up to playing in the final?
  4. aware ofup to a person's tricks
  5. as far asup to his waist in mud
  6. as many asup to two years' waiting time
  7. comparable withnot up to your normal standard
up top informal in the head or mind
up yours slang a vulgar expression of contempt or refusal
what's up? informal
  1. what is the matter?
  2. what is happening?


(predicative) of a high or higher position
(predicative) out of bed; awakethe children aren't up yet
(prenominal) of or relating to a train or trains to a more important place or one regarded as higherthe up platform
(predicative) over or completedthe examiner announced that their time was up
(predicative) beating one's opponent by a specified amountthree goals up by half-time

verb ups, upping or upped

(tr) to increase or raise
(intr; foll by and with a verb) informal to do (something) suddenly, unexpectedly, etcshe upped and married someone else


high point; good or pleasant period (esp in the phrase ups and downs)
slang another word (esp US) for upper (def. 9)
on the up and up
  1. trustworthy or honest
  2. Britishon the upward trend or movementour firm's on the up and up
up oneself slang self-absorbed or arroganthe's so up himself

Word Origin for up

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


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


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

Word Origin and History for upon

early 12c., from up + on; probably influenced by Old Norse upp a. Distinct from Old English uppan which merely meant "up."

In the mod. Scand. tongues, except Icelandic and Færöese, the reduced form pa, paa, corresponding to Eng. (colloq. or dial.) 'pon, 'po', has displaced the simple prep. å, aa = on. [OED]



earliest recorded sense is "to drive and catch (swans)," 1560, from up (adv.). Meaning "to get up, rise to one's feet" (as in up and leave) is recorded from 1643. Sense of "to move upward" is recorded from 1737. Meaning "increase" (as in up the price of oil) is attested from 1915. Cf. Old English verb uppian "to rise." Upping block is attested from 1796.



Old English up, uppe, from Proto-Germanic *upp- "up" (cf. Old Frisian up; Old Norse upp; Danish, Dutch op; Old High German uf, German auf "up"; Gothic iup "up, upward," uf "on, upon, under;" OHG oba, German ob "over, above, on, upon"), from PIE root *upo "up from below" (cf. Sanskrit upa "near, under, up to, on," Greek hypo "under, below," Latin sub "under;" see sub-).

Meaning "exhilarated, happy" first attested 1815. Musical up tempo (adj.) is recorded from 1948. Up-and-coming "promising" is from 1848. Phrase on the up-(and-up) "honest, straightforward" first attested 1863, American English. Up the river "in jail" first recorded 1891, originally in reference to Sing Sing, which is up the Hudson from New York City. To drive someone up the wall (1951) is from the notion of the behavior of lunatics or caged animals. Insulting retort up yours (scil. ass) attested by late 19c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with upon


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).


In addition to the idioms beginning with up

  • up a creek
  • up against
  • up and about
  • up and at 'em
  • up a tree
  • up for grabs
  • up front
  • up in arms
  • up in the air
  • up one's alley
  • up one's sleeve
  • up on something, be
  • ups and downs
  • upside the head
  • up the creek
  • up the river
  • up the wall
  • up to
  • up to a point
  • up to date
  • up to no good
  • up to one's ears
  • up to one's old tricks
  • up to par
  • up yours

also see:

  • act up
  • add up
  • add up to
  • all shook up
  • all up
  • ante up
  • back up
  • ball up
  • bang up
  • bark up the wrong tree
  • bear up
  • beat up
  • beef up
  • bid up
  • blow up
  • bob up
  • bone up
  • boot up
  • bottle up
  • bound up in
  • brace up
  • break up
  • bring up
  • bring up the rear
  • bring up to date
  • brush up
  • buckle up
  • buck up
  • buddy up
  • build up
  • bump up
  • burn up
  • butter up
  • button up
  • buy up
  • call up
  • camp it up
  • card up one's sleeve
  • catch up
  • chalk up
  • charge up
  • chat up
  • cheer up
  • choke up
  • choose up
  • clam up
  • clean up
  • clear up
  • clock up
  • close up
  • cloud over (up)
  • come (up) from behind
  • come up
  • come up against
  • come up roses
  • come up with
  • cook up
  • cough up
  • cover up
  • cozy up
  • cracked up
  • crack up
  • crank up
  • crap up
  • creep up on
  • crop up
  • cross up
  • curl up
  • cut up
  • dead from the neck up
  • dig up
  • doll up
  • double up
  • do up
  • draw up
  • dream up
  • dress up
  • drum up
  • dry up
  • ease off (up)
  • eat out (someone up)
  • eat up
  • end up
  • face up to
  • fed to the gills (up)
  • feel up
  • feel up to
  • figure up
  • fire up
  • fit out (up)
  • fix up
  • fix up with
  • flare up
  • fold up
  • follow up
  • foul up
  • from the ground up
  • fuck up
  • game is up
  • gang up
  • gas up
  • get someone's back up
  • get up
  • get up on the wrong side of bed
  • get up steam
  • give oneself up
  • give up
  • give up the ghost
  • go belly up
  • goof up
  • go up
  • go up in flames
  • grow up
  • gum up
  • ham up
  • hands up
  • hang up
  • hard up
  • haul up
  • have had it (up to here)
  • heads up
  • head up
  • heat up
  • hit up
  • hold one's end up
  • hold one's head high (up)
  • hold up
  • hole up
  • hook up
  • hopped up
  • hurry up and wait
  • hush up
  • jack up
  • jazz up
  • juice up
  • keep it up
  • keep one's chin up
  • keep (someone) up
  • key up
  • kick up
  • kick up a fuss
  • kick up one's heels
  • kiss and make up
  • knock up
  • laid up
  • land in (up)
  • lap up
  • lark it up
  • laugh up one's sleeve
  • lay in (up)
  • lead down (up) the garden path
  • lead up to
  • leg up
  • let up
  • lighten up
  • light up
  • line up
  • live it up
  • live up to
  • lock up
  • look over (up and down)
  • look up
  • louse up
  • make up
  • make up for lost time
  • make up one's mind
  • make up to
  • mark up
  • measure up
  • meet up with
  • mess up
  • mix it up
  • mix up
  • mop up
  • mop up the floor with
  • move up
  • muck up
  • not all it's cracked up to be
  • number's up
  • one up
  • on the up-and-up
  • open up
  • own up
  • pair off (up)
  • pass up
  • patch up
  • pay up
  • pep someone up
  • perk up
  • pick up
  • pick up on
  • pile up
  • pipe up
  • play up
  • play up to
  • pluck up
  • point up
  • pony up
  • pop up
  • prick up one's ears
  • psych up
  • pull oneself up
  • pull up
  • pull up stakes
  • pump up
  • push up daisies
  • put one's feet up
  • put someone up to
  • put up
  • put-up job
  • put up or shut up
  • put up with
  • rack up
  • rake up
  • read up
  • rev up
  • ride up
  • right-side up
  • right up one's alley
  • ring up
  • roll up
  • roll up one's sleeves
  • rough up
  • round up
  • rub up on
  • run (up) against
  • run up
  • rustle up
  • save up for
  • scare up
  • scrape up an acquaintance
  • screw up
  • scrounge around (up)
  • scrub up
  • seal off (up)
  • seize up
  • send up
  • serve up
  • settle up
  • set up
  • set up housekeeping
  • sew up
  • shack up
  • shake up
  • shape up
  • shine up to
  • shoot up
  • shore up
  • shot up
  • show up
  • shut up
  • sign up
  • sit up
  • sit up and take notice
  • size up
  • slip up
  • slow up
  • smell up
  • snap up
  • soak up
  • soften up
  • somebody up there loves me
  • speak out (up)
  • speed up
  • spit up
  • spruce up
  • square up
  • stack up
  • stand up
  • stand up and be counted
  • stand up for
  • stand up to
  • stand up with
  • start up
  • steamed up
  • step up
  • stick up
  • stir up
  • stir up a hornets' nest
  • stop up
  • straighten up
  • straight up
  • string up
  • suck up to
  • suit up
  • sum up
  • take up
  • take up a collection
  • take up arms
  • take up for
  • take up on
  • take up space
  • take up where one left off
  • take up with
  • talk up
  • tank up
  • team up with
  • think up
  • throw up
  • throw up one's hands
  • thumbs up
  • tie up
  • time is up
  • tone down (up)
  • tool up
  • (up) to the hilt
  • touch up
  • trade down (up)
  • trial balloon, send up a
  • trip up
  • trump up
  • tune up
  • turn up
  • turn up one's nose
  • turn up one's toes
  • turn up the heat
  • turn up trumps
  • wait up
  • wake-up call
  • warm up
  • wash up
  • what's cooking (up)
  • what's (up) with
  • whip up
  • whoop it up
  • wind up
  • wise up
  • worked up
  • work one's way (up)
  • work up
  • wrapped up
  • wrap up
  • write up

Also see underupper.

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