Origin of upstart

1275–1325; Middle English (v.); see up-, start
Related formsup·start·ness, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for upstart

British Dictionary definitions for upstart


noun (ˈʌpˌstɑːt)

  1. a person, group, etc, that has risen suddenly to a position of power or wealth
  2. (as modifier)an upstart tyrant; an upstart family
  1. an arrogant or presumptuous person
  2. (as modifier)his upstart ambition

verb (ʌpˈstɑːt)

(intr) archaic to start up, as in surprise, etc
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 upstart



1550s, "one newly risen in importance or rank, a parvenu," also start-up, from up + start (v.) in the sense of "jump, spring, rise." Cf. the archaic verb upstart "to spring to one's feet," attested from c.1300.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper