English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

In Abraham Lincoln's Inaugural Address,

I now reiterate these sentiments, and in doing so I only press upon the public attention the most conclusive evidence of which the case is susceptible that the property, peace, and security of no section are to be in any wise endangered by the now incoming Administration.

Is press upon used as a phrasal verb here? Or is it a verb (press) + preposition (upon)? What's the meaning of press upon?

share|improve this question
up vote 4 down vote accepted

It is being used as a phrasal verb:


Phrasal Verb: Press upon

Meaning: Pressure someone to accept something offered

Example: The invitations were PRESSED UPON us and it was hard to say no.

Note that it's usually a fairly mild pressure. It's not like the Godfather-esque "offer you can't refuse".

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.