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EnglishEdit

Alternative formsEdit

EtymologyEdit

From Middle English upon, uppon, uppen, from Old English upon, uppon, uppan (on, upon, up to, against, after, in addition to), equivalent to up (adverb) +‎ on (preposition). Cognate with Icelandic upp á, upp á (up on, upon), Swedish (up on, upon), Danish (up on, upon), Norwegian (up on, upon).

PronunciationEdit

PrepositionEdit

upon

  1. Physically above and in contact with.
    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. Physically directly supported by.
    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, mile upon mile of desert
    • 1596-97, William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, Act III Scene 1
      No news of them? Why, so: and I know not what's spend in the search: why thou loss upon loss! the thief gone with so much, and so much to find the thief; and no satisfaction, no revenge: nor no ill luck stirring but what lights on my shoulders; no sighs but of my breathing; no tears but of my shedding.
  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, chapter I, in Nobody, New York, N.Y.: George H[enry] Doran Company, published 1915, OCLC 40817384:
      Little disappointed, then, she turned attention to "Chat of the Social World," gossip which exercised potent fascination upon the girl's intelligence.

Usage notesEdit

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

SynonymsEdit

  • (all senses): on
  • (time): at

TranslationsEdit

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.

AdverbEdit

upon (not comparable)

  1. Being the target of an action.
    He was set upon by the agitated dogs

Derived termsEdit

AnagramsEdit