[uhp-turnd, uhp-turnd]


turned or directed upward: upturned eyes.
turned over; upside down: an upturned canoe.
having a turned-up end: an upturned nose.

Origin of upturned

First recorded in 1585–95; up- + turn + -ed2


[verb uhp-turn, uhp-turn; noun uhp-turn]

verb (used with object)

to turn up or over: The farmer upturned clumps of sod with his spade.
to cause disorder; upheave: The storm upturned the town.
to direct or turn upward: She upturned her face toward heaven and prayed.

verb (used without object)

to turn up or upward: Her eyes upturned to see his face.


chaos or extreme disorder, as in society; an upheaval.
an upward turn, or a changing and rising movement, as in prices or business.

Origin of upturn

1300–50; Middle English: to overturn; see up-, turn
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for upturned

Contemporary Examples of upturned

Historical Examples of upturned

  • And then she was on the sidewalk, her face, upturned to his, vivacious with excitement.

    The Black Bag

    Louis Joseph Vance

  • She was almost startled at the sweet yet sad face that was upturned to her gaze.

    The Elm Tree Tales

    F. Irene Burge Smith

  • He sat upon an upturned box, with an empty pipe between his lips.

    Murder Point

    Coningsby Dawson

  • He caught her to him in a great embrace and kissed her pleading, upturned face.

    The Night Riders

    Ridgwell Cullum

  • The people were twisting and turning like worms on an upturned turf.

    The Scapegoat

    Hall Caine

British Dictionary definitions for upturned


verb (ʌpˈtɜːn)

to turn or cause to turn up, over, or upside down
(tr) to create disorder
(tr) to direct upwards

noun (ˈʌpˌtɜːn)

an upward turn, trend, or improvement
an upheaval or commotion
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 upturned



1868, "upturned part," from up + turn. Meaning "improvement" (especially in economics) is from 1930.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper