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build on(to) (something)
To use something as a foundation and expand upon or add to it. A noun can be used between "build" and "on(to)." This kitchen is far too small—we'll need to build an addition onto it. And to build on Katie's point about romanticism in the text, the description of nature at the beginning of chapter 2 is a fine example of that.
See also: build
build (up)on something
1. to construct something on a particular space. (Upon is more formal and less commonly used than on.) Are you going to build upon this land? Yes, we will build on it.
2. to start with something and add to it. (Upon is more formal and less commonly used than on.) Our progress has been good so far. Let's build on it. We will build upon the success of our forebears.
build something (up)on something
1. Lit. to construct something on the base of something else. (Upon is formal and less commonly used than on.) The ancients built their houses upon the houses of earlier people.
2. Fig. to add to and develop something that already exists. We have a good reputation and we must build on it. He has to build on his strong friendships with the customers.
build something on(to) somethingand build something on
to construct an extension onto a building. We are going to build a garage onto this side of the house. We will build on a new garage. The people next door are not going to build anything on.
build on(to) somethingand build on
to add to something by constructing an extension. Do you plan to build onto this house? Yes, we are going to build on.
Also, build upon. Add as an extension; use as a basis or foundation. For example, They decided to build on an addition, or She was building all her hopes on passing the exam. John Locke had this idiom in his treatise on government (1689): "Sovereignty built on 'property' . . . comes to nothing." [Late 1600s]
build onor build upon
1. To construct something on the base of something else: She wants to build a new house on that hill. The pioneer built a small cabin upon the plain.
2. To use something as a basis or foundation on which to develop something else: The company built its hiring policy on the principle of fairness. The efficiency of our department is built on hard work.