[ uhp-streem ]
/ ˈʌpˈstrim /


toward or in the higher part of a stream; against the current.


directed upstream; situated upstream: an upstream journey; an upstream hideout.
Commerce. of or relating to the early stages in the operations of a business or industry, as exploration and production in the oil business (opposed to downstream).
against or opposite to the direction of transcription, translation, or synthesis of a DNA, RNA, or protein molecule.

Nearby words

  1. upstage,
  2. upstairs,
  3. upstanding,
  4. upstart,
  5. upstate,
  6. upstretched,
  7. upstroke,
  8. upsurge,
  9. upsweep,
  10. upswell

Origin of upstream

First recorded in 1675–85; up- + stream Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for upstream

British Dictionary definitions for upstream


/ (ˈʌpˈstriːm) /

adverb, adjective

in or towards the higher part of a stream; against the current
(in the oil industry) of or for any of the stages prior to oil production, such as exploration or researchCompare downstream (def. 2)
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 upstream



1680s, from up- + stream. In common use from c.1890.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper