[ uhp-wel-ing ]

  1. an act or instance of welling up: an upwelling of public support; an upwelling of emotion in his voice.

  2. Oceanography. the process by which warm, less-dense surface water is drawn away from along a shore by offshore currents and replaced by cold, denser water brought up from the subsurface.

Origin of upwelling

First recorded in 1850–55; upwell + -ing1

Words Nearby upwelling

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use upwelling in a sentence

  • Sorrow in her was aroused by many a spectacle—an uncritical upwelling of grief for the weak and the helpless.

    Sister Carrie | Theodore Dreiser
  • For that very reason he feels as never before a great upwelling of affection for all things around him, animate and inanimate.

    Knut Hamsun | Hanna Astrup Larsen
  • "I'll have to tell him something," she thought with a sudden upwelling of feeling as regarded the seriousness of this duty.

    Jennie Gerhardt | Theodore Dreiser
  • But the mood passed away before a fresh upwelling of concrete resentment against the self-pampered pair at the Promenade window.

    Ghetto Tragedies | Israel Zangwill
  • But the hollowness of Cally's speech had mocked the sudden sympathy upwelling within her.

    V. V.'s Eyes | Henry Sydnor Harrison

Scientific definitions for upwelling


[ ŭp-wĕlĭng ]

  1. The rising of cold, usually nutrient-rich waters from the ocean depths to the warmer, sunlit zone at the surface. Upwelling usually occurs in the subtropics along the western continental coasts, where prevailing trade winds drive the surface water away from shore, drawing deeper water upward to take its place. Because of the abundance of krill and other nutrients in the colder waters, these regions are rich feeding grounds for a variety of marine and avian species. Upwelling can also occur in the middle of oceans where cyclonic circulation is relatively permanent or where southern trade winds cross the Equator.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.