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


  1. directed upstream; situated upstream: an upstream journey; an upstream hideout.
  2. 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).
  3. against or opposite to the direction of transcription, translation, or synthesis of a DNA, RNA, or protein molecule.

adverb, adjective

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

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

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