[ uhp-set-ing ]
/ ʌpˈsɛt ɪŋ /


tending to disturb or upset: an upsetting experience.

Origin of upsetting

First recorded in 1870–75; upset + -ing2

Definition for upsetting (2 of 2)

Origin of upset

1300–50; Middle English: raised up; see up-, set


1 Upset, capsize, overturn imply a change from an upright or other stable position to a prostrate one. Upset is a familiar word, applied to simple, everyday actions: to upset a table, a glass of water. Capsize is applied especially to the upsetting of a boat or other vessel: to capsize a canoe. Overturn usually suggests violence in upsetting something supposedly stable: The earthquake overturned houses. All three are used figuratively, also: to upset the stock market; to capsize a plan; to overturn a government.
2 unnerve, disconcert, fluster.
5 depose, displace.
10 perturbation, disturbance.
11 mess.
15 disconcerted, agitated, perturbed, annoyed.

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

Examples from the Web for upsetting

British Dictionary definitions for upsetting (1 of 2)


/ (ʌpˈsɛtɪŋ) /


metallurgy the process of hammering the end of a heated bar of metal so that its width is increased locally, as in the manufacture of bolts

British Dictionary definitions for upsetting (2 of 2)


verb (ʌpˈsɛt) -sets, -setting or -set (mainly tr)

noun (ˈʌpˌsɛt)

adjective (ʌpˈsɛt)

Derived Forms

upsettable, adjectiveupsetter, nounupsetting, adjectiveupsettingly, adverb

Word Origin for upset

C14 (in the sense: to set up, erect; C19 in the sense: to overthrow); related to Middle High German ūfsetzen to put on, Middle Dutch opzetten
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