[ uhp-set-ing ]
/ ʌpˈsɛt ɪŋ /


tending to disturb or upset: an upsetting experience.

Nearby words

  1. upsala,
  2. upscale,
  3. upset,
  4. upset price,
  5. upset the applecart,
  6. upsetting lever,
  7. upsetting moment,
  8. upshift,
  9. upshot,
  10. upside

Origin of upsetting

First recorded in 1870–75; upset + -ing2

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


/ (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


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

noun (ˈʌpˌsɛt)

adjective (ʌpˈsɛt)

Derived Formsupsettable, 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

Word Origin and History for upsetting



mid-15c., "to set up, fix," from up + set (v.). Cf. Middle Dutch opsetten, German aufsetzen. Modern sense of "overturn, capsize" (1803) is that of obsolete overset. Meaning "to throw into mental discomposure" is from 1805. The noun sense of "overturning of a vehicle or boat" is recorded from 1804.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper