[ uhp-beet ]
/ ˈʌpˌbit /

noun Music.

an unaccented beat, especially immediately preceding a downbeat.
the upward stroke with which a conductor indicates such a beat.


optimistic; happy; cheerful: television dramas with predictably upbeat endings.

Nearby words

  1. upanishad,
  2. upanishads,
  3. upas,
  4. upaya,
  5. upbear,
  6. upbound,
  7. upbraid,
  8. upbraiding,
  9. upbringing,
  10. upbuild

Origin of upbeat

1865–70; 1950–55 for def 3; up- + beat

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for upbeat

British Dictionary definitions for upbeat


/ (ˈʌpˌbiːt) /


  1. a usually unaccented beat, esp the last in a bar
  2. the upward gesture of a conductor's baton indicating thisCompare downbeat
an upward trend (in prosperity, etc)


informal marked by cheerfulness or optimism
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for upbeat



"with a positive mood," 1947, apparently from the musical noun upbeat (1869), referring to the beat of a bar at which the conductor's baton is in a raised position; the "optimistic" sense apparently for no other reason than that it sounds like a happy word (the musical upbeat is no more inherently "positive" than any other beat). Expression on the upbeat "improving, getting better" is recorded from 1934.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper