border (up)on (something)

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border (up)on (something)

1. Literally, to be positioned next to something. France borders upon Spain to the south. That shed definitely borders on our property.
2. To be very similar to something without being identical; to nearly be something. Be careful, some sections of this paper are bordering on plagiarism.
See also: border
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

border (up)on something

 
1. Lit. [for something] to touch upon a boundary. (Upon is more formal and less commonly used than on.) Our property borders on the lakeshore. The farm borders upon the railroad tracks.
2. Fig. [for some activity or idea] to be very similar to something else. (Not usually physical objects. Upon is formal and less commonly used than on.) This notion of yours borders upon mutiny! That plan borders on insanity.
See also: border, on
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

border on

or border upon
v.
1. To be next to something in location: New York State borders on Lake Ontario. My property borders upon a small lake.
2. To come close to being something, especially in association, meaning, or intent; verge on something: Your harsh criticism borders on being offensive. Some of their jokes were funny, but others bordered upon the ridiculous!
See also: border, on
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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