up·​start | \ ˌəp-ˈstärt How to pronounce upstart (audio) \
upstarted; upstarting; upstarts

Definition of upstart

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to jump up (as to one's feet) suddenly


up·​start | \ ˈəp-ˌstärt How to pronounce upstart (audio) \

Definition of upstart (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : one that has risen suddenly (as from a low position to wealth or power) : parvenu especially : one that claims more personal importance than is warranted
2 : a start-up enterprise

Other Words from upstart


upstart \ ˈəp-​ˈstärt How to pronounce upstart (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for upstart

Synonyms: Noun

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Examples of upstart in a Sentence

Noun a young upstart from Harvard who thinks he knows more than the boss having made their money in oil decades ago, they consider these billionaire dot-commers mere upstarts
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Wisconsin fell out in the round of 32 to upstart Iowa State, while Illinois lost to Houston, meaning neither of the Big Ten’s co-champions made the second weekend. Zach Osterman, The Indianapolis Star, 21 Mar. 2022 Electric vehicle upstart Lucid likely will look at raising prices of future models due to inflationary and supply chain pressures, company CEO Peter Rawlinson told Reuters on Thursday. Jacob Carpenter, Fortune, 18 Mar. 2022 That tournament featured a win over his alma mater, upstart UW-Milwaukee, in the Sweet 16 en route to the national championship game, a 75-70 loss to North Carolina. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 10 Mar. 2022 Beck also serves as an adviser to upstart short-form content platform Triller, which last month announced plans to go public in a reverse merger with SeaChange International. Todd Spangler, Variety, 18 Jan. 2022 The Aggies lost to upstart Arkansas to open SEC play, and then A&M fans had awful flashbacks to another era when former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach rolled into Kyle Field and upended the Aggies, this time in his second season with Mississippi State. Brent Zwerneman, San Antonio Express-News, 25 Dec. 2021 The state will set aside $21 million to help upstart small businesses in an effort to create jobs in the private sector at a time when the state has had historically sluggish job growth. Christopher Keating,, 21 Dec. 2021 The Highlanders replace Orlando Christian Prep, which saw its area-record 48-game winning streak end with a 50-48 loss to upstart Olympia in a quarterfinal game at last week’s Rotary Tip-Off Classic. Buddy Collings,, 9 Dec. 2021 In March UConn lost to upstart Arizona in the national semifinal, a game in which the Huskies were heavily favored. Lindsay Schnell, USA TODAY, 3 Nov. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun For the first time in this tournament, and perhaps in Sampson’s entire tenure, Houston isn’t the fun upstart anymore. Dan Wolken, USA TODAY, 26 Mar. 2022 Since March of 2020, Tesla shares have soared from $85 to as high as $1,243 in October, briefly giving the upstart carmaker a market value of more than $1 trillion — more than Toyota, Volkswagen, Daimler, Ford and GM combined. Washington Post, 2 May 2022 Since then, though, Tatum and Brown, along with the rest of the team’s upstart cast, have silenced their critics in a big way. New York Times, 16 Apr. 2022 His controversial past became the setup for his bad boy upstart persona. Steven Monacelli, Rolling Stone, 3 Apr. 2022 And Colin Huang, who founded e-commerce upstart Pinduoduo Inc., dropped his CEO role in 2020 ahead of Beijing’s crackdown. Coco Liu,, 7 Apr. 2022 Gonzaga, once pesky upstart and now Sweet 16 fixture, is still seeking that illusive first national title. Eddie Timanus, USA TODAY, 24 Mar. 2022 This is the second time an EV upstart and wannabe Tesla announced further investment in new capacity while simultaneously airing its dirty laundry. Christiaan Hetzner, Fortune, 1 Mar. 2022 Yet another 18-year-old upstart moved on to the fourth round. Los Angeles Times, 4 Sep. 2021 See More

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

First Known Use of upstart


14th century, in the meaning defined above


1555, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of upstart was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

3 Apr 2022

Cite this Entry

“Upstart.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for upstart


up·​start | \ ˈəp-ˌstärt How to pronounce upstart (audio) \

Kids Definition of upstart

: a person who gains quick or unexpected success and shows off that success

More from Merriam-Webster on upstart

Nglish: Translation of upstart for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of upstart for Arabic Speakers


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