I have searched the meaning of look down upon as well as look down on is 'to hate' or to consider someone or something lesser or inferior in some way.

But when we use look down upon and look down on? Thanks in advance.

  • Unless it's meant literally, of course. In which case the meaning has nothing to do with emotion or belief—but only to do with physical action and vision. Commented Nov 11, 2018 at 23:19
  • I'd say the slight difference would be you'd look on a single item, and upon 'the entire set' - you'd look (down) on a man, but upon a nation, on the boss but upon the firm. But they are mostly interchangeable.
    – SF.
    Commented Jan 17, 2019 at 7:47

1 Answer 1


Your search should have included one or two good dictionaries. The only difference between those two phrases is that "upon" is slightly more formal, and is more likely to be found in British English, than "on".

Upon (Oxford Learner's Dictionaries)

"Hate" is an inaccurate description of the meaning of "look down on/upon". The phrase, when used figuratively, simply means "to think that you are better than somebody/something".

Look down on (Oxford Learner's Dictionaries)

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