up·​end | \ ˌəp-ˈend \
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

Photo: Jon Kamp/The Wall Street Journal Five other Maine paper mills also closed in the past decade, upending small towns where the nation’s long-running economic recovery remains elusive. Jon Kamp, WSJ, "Maine’s Mill Towns Search for New Life," 2 Oct. 2018 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly praised Trump's decision to upend decades of US policy by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Fares Akram Ilan Ben Zion, The Christian Science Monitor, "US embassy opens in Jerusalem as dozens killed in Gaza," 14 May 2018 By the same token, many Republican senators are worried about establishing a precedent which could upend someone’s career based on impossible-to-prove allegations. Chad Pergram, Fox News, "Kavanaugh is short of votes, but fate hinges on upcoming testimony," 25 Sep. 2018 App Bundles promise to pass big space savings on to consumers, but upending the existing app distribution system has major implications for sideloading apps and third-party app stores. Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica, "Android 9 Pie, thoroughly reviewed," 13 Sep. 2018 Walmart, which upended GM and Exxon with its revolutionary one-stop shop of cheap goods for the first time in 2002, is now facing a coup from e-commerce titan Amazon. Lucinda Shen, Fortune, "These Companies Have Made the Fortune 500 Every Year Since 1955," 22 May 2018 But in purely political terms, one other moment leaps to mind: the day in 2008 when John McCain upended expectations by picking then-Alaska governor Sarah Palin to be his vice presidential running mate. Benjamin Hart, Daily Intelligencer, "John McCain Regrets His Palin Pick for the Wrong Reasons," 5 May 2018 Here's what Hulu has to say about the project: Little Fires Everywhere follows the intertwined fates of the picture-perfect Richardson family and an enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. Julie Kosin, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kerry Washington and Reese Witherspoon to Adapt Little Fires Everywhere for Hulu," 13 Mar. 2018 Like any good con man, Paul, the young African-American hustler who upends the lives of Ouisa and Flan Kittredge, a wealthy white couple, plays on his marks' vulnerabilities—mostly their vanity. Sadie Stein, Town & Country, "Why Are Rich People So Easily Fooled?," 26 Feb. 2017

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

21 Jan 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 \
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).


a complex dispute or argument

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
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!