Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • prep. On. See Usage Note at on.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • prep. Being above and in contact with another.
  • prep. Being directly supported by another.
  • prep. At a prescribed point in time.
  • adv. Being the target of an action.
  • adv. Incidental to a specified point in time or order of action; usually combined with here-, there- or where-.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • prep. On; -- used in all the senses of that word, with which it is interchangeable.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Up and on: in many cases scarcely more than a synonym of on, the force of up being almost or entirely lost. See on, preposition
  • Upward so as to get or be on: involving motion toward a higher point.
  • On, in any sense: conveying no notion of height, elevation, rise, or ascent. See on.
  • See the verbs.
  • Hereupon; thereupon; onward; on.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. being up to particular standard or level especially in being up to date in knowledge

Etymologies

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 up á, upp á ("up on, upon"), Swedish  ("up on, upon"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • These domestic Fairies _kept their marriages upon the same day_ as the Human Beings; _their children were born upon the same day_; and _upon the same day they wailed for their dead.

    Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine — Volume 56, No. 345, July, 1844

  • For it is of the nature of love when confronted by two alternatives one of which lays the stress upon personal advantage and the other _upon love itself_ apart from any personal advantage, whether one's own or another's, to choose, as the assumption upon which it shall live, the latter of these two alternatives.

    The Complex Vision

  • “I think it depends upon yourself, ” said Siward, “upon your capacity for being, or for making people believe you to be exactly what they require.

    The Fighting Chance

  • I pass one or two points I have, because my time will very soon expire; but I must be allowed to say that Judge Douglas recurs again, as he did upon one or two other occasions, to the enormity of Lincoln, —an insignificant individual like Lincoln, —upon his ipse dixit charging a conspiracy upon a large number of members of Congress, the Supreme Court, and two Presidents, to nationalize slavery.

    Second Joint Debate at Freeport. Mr. Lincoln's Speech

  • Its burden rests, not upon the unfortunate individual who has become tuberculous, but _upon the community_ which, by its ignorance, its selfishness, and its greed, has done much to make him so.

    Preventable Diseases

  • In the book of Daniel the hand that traces the warning words upon the walls of Belshazzar's palace traces them "_upon the plaster of the wall_" (DANIEL v. 5).

    A History of Art in Chaldæa & Assyria, v. 1

  • The prayer of the Psalmist that this beauty may be _upon_ us conceives of it as given to us from above and as coming floating down from heaven, like that white Dove that fell upon Christ's head, fair and meek, gentle and lovely, and resting on our anointed heads, like a diadem and an aureole of glory.

    Expositions of Holy Scripture Psalms

  • You must either build upon Christ or fall over Him; you must either build _upon_ Christ, or be crushed to powder _under_ Him.

    Expositions of Holy Scripture St. John Chapters I to XIV

  • Our Lord, however, does not merely bid us not to lay up treasure upon earth; for if he had said no more, this his commandment might be abused, and persons might find in it an encouragement for their extravagant habits, for their love of pleasure, for their habit of spending everything they have, or can obtain, _upon themselves_.

    The Life of Trust: Being a Narrative of the Lord's Dealings With George Müller

  • Wishing, therefore, Lorenzo speedily to purchase a small bronze figure of him, from the celebrated large one at Rotterdam, and to place the same upon a copy of his first edition of the _Greek Testament_ printed _upon vellum_, [301] by way of

    Bibliomania; or Book-Madness A Bibliographical Romance

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