up·​set·​ting (ˌ)əp-ˈse-tiŋ How to pronounce upsetting (audio)
: mentally or emotionally troubling or disturbing : causing feelings of worry or anxiety
heard some upsetting news
an upsetting experience
We're up to [a deficit of] $1.5 trillion a year …. These numbers are truly upsetting.Bill Gates
Professors issue, or students demand, trigger warnings when presenting material that might be upsetting to some: depictions of rape, sexism, racism, suicide.Yvonne Abraham
upsettingly adverb
an upsettingly graphic depiction of violence
In comparison to male historical figures, the number of women that we learn about throughout school is upsettingly low. Alexis Gardner

Examples of upsetting in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web To better understand the thought and the beliefs underlying it, ask yourself what’s so upsetting about the scenario, Strunk said. Kristen Rogers, CNN, 2 Apr. 2024 Many projects don’t deserve this negative press and it’s been upsetting for the reliable developers in the space. Mark Le Dain, Forbes, 29 Mar. 2024 Editor’s note: This story describes extremely disturbing events that may be upsetting for some people. Chris Dehghanpoor, Washington Post, 13 Mar. 2024 Disturbing messages sent anonymously are even more upsetting. Amy Dickinson, Detroit Free Press, 13 Mar. 2024 The Wi-Fi issues come as Google is mandating employees return to the office for three days a week, which is upsetting to many employees who have better internet connections at home. Maxwell Zeff / Gizmodo, Quartz, 7 Mar. 2024 McCann and Foley both recalled the conversations with Kotey as illuminating, upsetting and heartbreaking. Max Ufberg, San Diego Union-Tribune, 22 Mar. 2024 But the most upsetting moment at this year’s Oscars came later. Richard Trank, The Hollywood Reporter, 13 Mar. 2024 Another upsetting figure from 2022: 17.3% of households with children were affected by food insecurity. Hannah Dylan Pasternak, SELF, 13 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'upsetting.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1872, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of upsetting was in 1872

Dictionary Entries Near upsetting

Cite this Entry

“Upsetting.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Apr. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on upsetting

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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