verb (used with object), up·set, up·set·ting.

  1. to overturn: to upset a pitcher of milk.
  2. to disturb mentally or emotionally; perturb: The incident upset her.
  3. to disturb or derange completely; put out of order; throw into disorder: to upset a system; to upset a mechanism; to upset an apartment.
  4. to disturb physically: It upset his stomach.
  5. to defeat or overthrow an opponent that is considered more formidable, as in war, politics, or sports.
  6. Metalworking. to thicken the end of (a piece of heated metal) by hammering on the end against the length of the piece.

verb (used without object), up·set, up·set·ting.

  1. to become upset or overturned.


  1. an upsetting or instance of being upset; overturn; overthrow.
  2. the defeat of a person, team, etc., that is considered more formidable.
  3. a nervous, irritable state of mind.
  4. a disordered or confused arrangement.
  5. Metalworking.
    1. a tool used for upsetting.
    2. something that is upset, as a bar end.


  1. overturned: an upset milk pail.
  2. disordered; disorganized: The house is upset.
  3. distressed; disturbed: She had an upset stomach. He is emotionally upset.
  4. Archaic. raised up.

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

  1. (also intr) to tip or be tipped over; overturn, capsize, or spill
  2. to disturb the normal state, course, or stability ofto upset the balance of nature
  3. to disturb mentally or emotionally
  4. to defeat or overthrow, usually unexpectedly
  5. to make physically illseafood always upsets my stomach
  6. to thicken or spread (the end of a bar, rivet, etc) by forging, hammering, or swagging

noun (ˈʌpˌsɛt)

  1. an unexpected defeat or reversal, as in a contest or plans
  2. a disturbance or disorder of the emotions, body, etc
  3. a tool used to upset a bar or rivet; swage
  4. a forging or bar that has been upset in preparation for further processing

adjective (ʌpˈsɛt)

  1. overturned or capsized
  2. emotionally or physically disturbed or distressed
  3. disordered; confused
  4. defeated or overthrown

v.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.

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