upset

1 of 3

verb

up·​set (ˌ)əp-ˈset How to pronounce upset (audio)
upset; upsetting

transitive verb

1
: to thicken and shorten (something, such as a heated bar of iron) by hammering on the end : swage
2
: to force out of the usual upright, level, or proper position : overturn
3
a
: to trouble mentally or emotionally : disturb the poise of
the news upset me
b
: to throw into disorder
d
: to defeat unexpectedly
was upset in the primary
4
: to cause a physical disorder in
specifically : to make somewhat ill
spicy food upsets my stomach

intransitive verb

: to become overturned
upsetter noun

upset

2 of 3

noun

up·​set ˈəp-ˌset How to pronounce upset (audio)
1
: an act of overturning : overturn
2
a(1)
: an act of throwing into disorder : derangement
(2)
: a state of disorder : confusion
b
: an unexpected defeat
3
a
: a minor physical disorder
a stomach upset
b
: an emotional disturbance
went through a big upset after his father's death
4
a
: a part of a rod (such as the head on a bolt) that is upset
b
: the expansion of a bullet on striking

upset

3 of 3

adjective

up·​set (ˌ)əp-ˈset How to pronounce upset (audio)
1
: emotionally disturbed or agitated
was too upset to speak to him
2
: affected with minor physical disturbance or disorder
an upset stomach
Phrases
upset the apple cart
: to disturb or overturn a natural or stable order
Choose the Right Synonym for upset

discompose, disquiet, disturb, perturb, agitate, upset, fluster mean to destroy capacity for collected thought or decisive action.

discompose implies some degree of loss of self-control or self-confidence especially through emotional stress.

discomposed by the loss of his beloved wife

disquiet suggests loss of sense of security or peace of mind.

the disquieting news of factories closing

disturb implies interference with one's mental processes caused by worry, perplexity, or interruption.

the discrepancy in accounts disturbed me

perturb implies deep disturbance of mind and emotions.

perturbed by her husband's strange behavior

agitate suggests obvious external signs of nervous or emotional excitement.

in his agitated state we could see he was unable to work

upset implies the disturbance of normal or habitual functioning by disappointment, distress, or grief.

the family's constant bickering upsets the youngest child

fluster suggests bewildered agitation.

his declaration of love completely flustered her

Example Sentences

Verb That remark you made really upset me. Don't upset yourself over it. It upsets him that he can do nothing to help. A lot of people were upset by the court's decision. It upsets me to think I might never see him again. Spicy food upsets my stomach. Noun In a major upset, he took the gold medal. Her victory in the election was a big upset. Spicy foods can cause stomach upset. An emotional upset can affect your physical health. a period of emotional upset Adjective I was feeling upset by the whole experience. There's no point in getting all upset about it. I try not to let her make me upset. She was too upset to speak to him. I'm upset that you didn't call. I was so upset with him, I didn't call him for two weeks. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
Playing with nothing to lose, the Jaguars rallied to upset the Baltimore Ravens 28-27. Tyler Dragon, USA TODAY, 29 Nov. 2022 The Turkish airstrikes, which have killed a number of Syrian army soldiers operating in the same area as the Syrian Democratic Forces, have also threatened to upset a nascent rapprochement between Damascus and Ankara. Arkansas Online, 24 Nov. 2022 So in the end, Chapek managed to upset both sides of the debate. Brendan Morrow, The Week, 22 Nov. 2022 Still, the photos were said to upset the Queen and especially Prince Philip, whose relationship with Fergie is believed to be sour ever since. Erica Gonzales, ELLE, 14 Nov. 2022 For example, a first-time customer places $300 on the Seahawks to upset the Buccaneers in Germany. cleveland, 12 Nov. 2022 First there was the stunner at Tennessee, and then last week LSU, in a legendary call by first-year Tigers’ coach Brian Kelly, went for two in overtime to upset mighty Alabama. Joseph Goodman | Jgoodman@al.com, al, 11 Nov. 2022 Nygren and his running mate, Richelle Montoya, received an unofficial total of 34,568 votes, enough to upset popular incumbent President Jonathan Nez, who was running for a second term. Arlyssa D. Becenti, The Arizona Republic, 9 Nov. 2022 Democrats hoped to upset Republicans in the Buckeye State, but Ohio’s conservative lean was too much for even a moderate like Ryan to overcome. Los Angeles Times, 8 Nov. 2022
Noun
The Eagles were favored by 10 1/2 points, according to FanDuel Sportsbook, and the Commanders reveled in pulling off the upset. Dan Gelston, ajc, 15 Nov. 2022 Pulling off an upset over Wake would certainly be a turning point for the Cardinals in a season that looked bleak after the 34-33 loss at Boston College. Alexis Cubit, The Courier-Journal, 26 Oct. 2022 Democrats have won the district every year since 2006 when a young upstart named Chris Murphy pulled off an upset against Johnson. Christopher Keating, Hartford Courant, 6 Nov. 2022 Bend pulled the upset of the night with a 3-1 (23-25, 25-19, 25-20, 25-14) win over previously-undefeated No. 1 seed Wilsonville. oregonlive, 5 Nov. 2022 The 2019 Nationals pulled off the upset but haven’t been the same since. Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, 5 Nov. 2022 Almost 15 years ago, the Lakers pulled off the upset at Breslin. Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press, 2 Nov. 2022 The host Stars had a nearly flawless record and No. 7 ranking coming in against a Danville team with a losing record, but the Warriors pulled out the upset in a 36-34 overtime thriller. Matthew Vantryon, The Indianapolis Star, 28 Oct. 2022 Meanwhile, Brady's team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, had an away game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, in which the Steelers pulled off a 20-18 upset. Georgia Slater, Peoplemag, 18 Oct. 2022
Adjective
The head coach even had former boxer Buster Douglas, who is known for his upset knockout of Mike Tyson for the world heavyweight championship in 1990, speak to the team Friday about the power of perseverance. The Courier-Journal, 20 Nov. 2022 This June, a Maine veterinary hospital found itself at the center of a firestorm after an upset owner went to the local news about her German-shepherd puppy’s $10,000 emergency surgery. Sarah Zhang, The Atlantic, 20 Nov. 2022 Thanks to a Friday night upset of Ohio State by Maryland and a dramatic, five-set win over Penn State on Saturday, the Badgers are one victory away from assuring themselves at least a share of their fourth straight Big Ten championship. Mark Stewart, Journal Sentinel, 20 Nov. 2022 The TigerScots have had to pick up upset wins over the No. 3 team and No. 2 Lowell on the way to the state championship game. oregonlive, 19 Nov. 2022 The Blazers are one of just two nonconference teams to win there since 2000 — the year UAB upset LSU 13-10. Creg Stephenson | Cstephenson@al.com, al, 19 Nov. 2022 The men were upset that Kunzelman cut locks to village gates, their attorneys said. Jennifer Sinco Kelleher, ajc, 18 Nov. 2022 The men were upset that Kunzelman cut locks to village gates, their attorneys said. CBS News, 18 Nov. 2022 Miami suffered upset losses to Middle Tennessee State and Duke plus an ugly 45-3 loss to Florida State earlier this month. Laine Higgins, WSJ, 18 Nov. 2022 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

Verb

1677, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Noun

1804, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1805, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of upset was in 1677

Dictionary Entries Near upset

Cite this Entry

“Upset.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/upset. Accessed 2 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

upset 1 of 3

verb

up·​set (ˌ)əp-ˈset How to pronounce upset (audio)
upset; upsetting
1
: to force or be forced out of the usual position : overturn
2
a
: to worry, anger, or cause unhappiness to
the news upset me
b
: to make somewhat ill
spicy food upsets my stomach
3
a
: to throw into disorder
b
: to defeat unexpectedly

upset

2 of 3

noun

up·​set ˈəp-ˌset How to pronounce upset (audio)
1
: an act or result of upsetting : a state of being upset
2
a
: a minor illness
a stomach upset
b
: a period of worry or unhappiness

upset

3 of 3

adjective

up·​set (ˌ)əp-ˈset How to pronounce upset (audio)
: emotionally disturbed or shaken up
was too upset to talk

Medical Definition

upset 1 of 3

transitive verb

up·​set (ˌ)əp-ˈset How to pronounce upset (audio)
upset; upsetting
1
: to trouble mentally or emotionally
the news upset me
2
: to cause a physical disorder in
specifically : to make somewhat ill
greasy food upsets my stomach

upset

2 of 3

noun

up·​set ˈəp-ˌset How to pronounce upset (audio)
1
: a minor physical disorder
a stomach upset
2
: an emotional disturbance

upset

3 of 3

adjective

up·​set (ˌ)əp-ˈset How to pronounce upset (audio)
1
: affected with a minor physical disturbance
an upset stomach
2
: emotionally disturbed or agitated
was too upset to speak

More from Merriam-Webster on upset

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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