up·​end | \ ˌəp-ˈend How to pronounce upend (audio) \
upended; upending; upends

Definition of upend

transitive verb

1 : to set or stand on end also : overturn sense 1
2a : to affect to the point of being upset or flurried a … literary shocker, designed to upend the credulous matrons— Wolcott Gibbs
b : defeat, beat

intransitive verb

: to rise on an end

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of upend in a Sentence

He upended the bicycle to fix its flat tire. I upended the bucket to use as a stool. The security inspector upended my bag and dumped everything out. A giant wave upended the surfers. The midfielder was upended before he got the ball.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Also upending the traditional focus on Iowa and New Hampshire is a heavier emphasis on early voting, a process that has become more popular with each election. Reid J. Epstein, WSJ, "California Upends 2020 Democratic Primary Calendar," 17 Dec. 2018 His wooing of Mr Trump was upended at the G7 summit in Quebec. The Economist, "Emmanuel Macron, the resolutely modern philosopher king," 13 June 2018 Kathy Griffin got pretty quiet last year in the weeks and months following that time her life was upended and her career nearly derailed by a now-infamous photo of the comedian holding a Donald Trump mask covered in fake blood. Théoden Janes, charlotteobserver, "Controversial comic Kathy Griffin’s back, with a warning for fans coming to her show," 13 July 2018 And there's good reason for Trump to want to upend the table and reposition all the pieces. NBC News, "Trump hits the world stage, Day One: Come late, leave early, offend host, alienate allies," 8 June 2018 Meanwhile, Goodall camped for months in the jungles of Tanzania to bring back reports of the intelligence and sociability of chimpanzees, which upended the scientific establishment’s assumption of human supremacy. Joanna Scutts, Philly.com, "'Visionary Women' by Joanna Scutts: Four women who changed the world," 3 Apr. 2018 That story was really about one of the most ancient and traditional societies on Earth very rapidly being upended by the opening of market forces. Eric Johnson, Recode, "Elites like Amazon’s Jeff Bezos think they’re being philanthropic. But they could do so much more.," 3 Oct. 2018 The novel, which is about a middle-class businessman whose life is upended during Lyndon B. Johnson’s presidency, went on to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1998. Annika Neklason, The Atlantic, "‘The Trust of the Reader Is Distrusted by Roth’," 24 May 2018 The testimony delivered by Jody Wilson-Raybould to a parliamentary committee offered the most detailed version yet of events fueling a scandal that risks upending Mr. Trudeau’s re-election effort later this year. Kim Mackrael, WSJ, "Political Scandal Worsens for Canada’s Justin Trudeau," 27 Feb. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'upend.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of upend

1823, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about upend

Dictionary Entries near upend


updraft kiln






Statistics for upend

Last Updated

15 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for upend

The first known use of upend was in 1823

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for upend



English Language Learners Definition of upend

: to cause (something) to be upside down : to turn (something) over
: to cause (someone) to fall down or be turned over


up·​end | \ ˌəp-ˈend How to pronounce upend (audio) \
upended; upending

Kids Definition of upend

: to set, stand, or rise on end

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on upend

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with upend

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for upend

Spanish Central: Translation of upend

Nglish: Translation of upend for Spanish Speakers

Comments on upend

What made you want to look up upend? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


an enemy or opponent

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Latin Quiz

  • roman forum
  • Which of the following months comes from a Latin word for “ten”?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!