up·​heav·​al | \ ˌəp-ˈhē-vəl How to pronounce upheaval (audio) , (ˌ)ə-ˈpē-\

Definition of upheaval

1 : the action or an instance of upheaving especially of part of the earth's crust
2 : extreme agitation or disorder : radical change also : an instance of this

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Examples of upheaval in a Sentence

The civil rights movement marked a period of social upheaval in the U.S. the emotional upheaval of divorce a period of cultural and social upheavals The island was created by an upheaval of the ocean floor. The lake was formed by geologic upheaval.
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Recent Examples on the Web

While his political strategy depends on stuffing his cabinet with hardliners, their ideological myopia renders them ill-suited to the task of managing a major constitutional upheaval, yet perversely over-confident in their ability to do so. Craig Berry, Quartz, "Boris Johnson’s hard Brexit cabinet actually makes a soft Brexit more likely," 26 July 2019 Sam Whiting reports on the upheaval at 500 Capp Street. Taylor Kate Brown, SFChronicle.com, "Bay Briefing: A ‘home’ for homeless RVs," 16 July 2019 Sanders was named acting commissioner after upheaval at the DHS led to the firing of its secretary, Kirstjen Nielsen, in April and then CBP Commissioner McAleenan took over the department in an acting role. Julia Ainsley, NBC News, "Acting CBP Commissioner John Sanders to step down after two months," 25 June 2019 Guaido thanked Netanyahu, comparing the political upheaval in the South American nation with the end of the Holocaust. Marcus M. Gilban, sun-sentinel.com, "Venezuelan opposition leader appoints rabbi as envoy to Israel," 21 Aug. 2019 The translucent channel is suspended mid-air, and the fish's speeding shadow tells a harrowing story of a life in upheaval. Scottie Andrew, CNN, "The internet is going crazy over a 'salmon cannon' that shoots fish over a dam," 12 Aug. 2019 This era of political upheaval is producing a new generation of disruptors at all levels of government and Denver’s political sphere is no exception. Doug Friednash, The Denver Post, "Friednash: Denver’s AOC — Candi CdeBaca — has already shaken the city but could this disruptor rattle Congress too?," 4 Aug. 2019 While children enjoyed kids’ music, cotton candy and a small petting zoo with goats, pigs and chickens, some of their parents and others contemplated the hardships that friends and family are enduring while Venezuela is in upheaval. Patrick Danner, ExpressNews.com, "Countrymen on minds of Venezuelans at San Antonio festival," 28 July 2019 He was picked by President Donald Trump to lead ICE in May. His appointment comes as the top leadership of most U.S. immigration agencies remains in upheaval. Washington Post, "The Latest: Lawyers want inspections of migrant kid centers," 26 June 2019

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

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First Known Use of upheaval

1838, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for upheaval

Last Updated

9 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for upheaval

The first known use of upheaval was in 1838

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English Language Learners Definition of upheaval

: a major change or period of change that causes a lot of conflict, confusion, anger, etc.
technical : an occurrence in which a part of the Earth's surface moves up forcefully


up·​heav·​al | \ ˌəp-ˈhē-vəl How to pronounce upheaval (audio) \

Kids Definition of upheaval

: a period of great change or violent disorder

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More from Merriam-Webster on upheaval

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with upheaval

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for upheaval

Spanish Central: Translation of upheaval

Nglish: Translation of upheaval for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of upheaval for Arabic Speakers

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authorized for issue (as a bond)

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