Definition of upheaval in English:



  • 1A violent or sudden change or disruption to something.

    ‘major upheavals in the financial markets’
    [mass noun] ‘times of political upheaval’
    • ‘Much of the initial enthusiasm had cooled when the fall of the Bastille was followed by continued upheavals.’
    • ‘In many European countries major political upheavals and wars since the 18th century caused dispersion of cultural artefacts such as portraits throughout the world.’
    • ‘Even after Napoleon had been consigned to his island prison on Saint Helena the upheaval continued unabated.’
    • ‘Few people believed that the Empire could continue unchanged after the upheavals of the war.’
    • ‘The recent upheavals were so unpopular that it would be a brave government to implement anything like that again.’
    • ‘To understand deviance and crime one needs to be aware of what constitutes normality, a task which became increasingly difficult as social upheavals continued through the early 1990s when the fieldwork was conducted.’
    • ‘‘There are continuing upheavals in Africa,’ he says.’
    • ‘Her books, bearing ambitious titles such as Women, Resistance and Revolution, helped shape one of the biggest political upheavals of the 20th century.’
    • ‘Marx's own time was similarly marked by a series of turbulent social, political, and economic upheavals, all of which helped shape and produce Marxism.’
    • ‘‘The recent upheavals have demonstrated the danger the sector faced from not being aware of the importance of facts and figures,’ McDonnell said.’
    • ‘The arrival of Timothy's new friends had not been the only upheaval in his recent experiences.’
    • ‘But during the political upheavals she found herself a stateless person and was granted British citizenship, though she still returns to Malawi from time to time to visit her family.’
    • ‘After a series of scandals and upheavals that occurred in the 1980s this huge economic conglomerate totally collapsed.’
    • ‘These internal upheavals have displaced millions of desperate people who cross borders searching for freedom and protection.’
    • ‘Despite subsequent upheavals, the French have never seriously considered restoring the monarchy since.’
    • ‘Have there been any upheavals in the recent past?’
    • ‘Despite this, a long and complicated number of coups and upheavals continued in the country.’
    • ‘It is clear from the major upheavals faced by farming in recent years that agriculture is changing.’
    • ‘Despite the upheaval, revenue continues to grow, as do jobs however, in many cases those jobs are changing.’
    • ‘However, this growing opposition did not erupt in open upheavals or mass strikes, at least as far as I can judge.’
    disruption, upset, disturbance, trouble, turbulence
    disorder, disorganization, confusion, turmoil, pandemonium, bedlam, furore, uproar, disarray, chaos, mayhem, cataclysm
    revolution, violent change, sudden change
    View synonyms
  • 2An upward displacement of part of the earth's crust.

    ‘the first upheaval produced a hill which was called Roof Mountain’
    • ‘Over eons these sediments became buried beneath layers of mud and ash caused by forest fires, more volcanic eruptions, rains and upheavals.’
    • ‘Formed by volcanic upheavals, the island sits atop 100-foot cliffs rising straight out of deep ocean.’
    • ‘Since being exposed through the earth's upheavals on the top of a mountain in Antarctica, the rest of the fish's body had now unfortunately been eroded away.’
    • ‘The ancient earth was prepared through thousands of years of geologic upheaval.’
    • ‘The Boxing Day tsunami and the Sumatran earthquake on March 28, which registered 9 on the Richter scale, have made the world conscious of these massive upheavals of the Earth.’
    • ‘The geological upheavals that divided rivers and river basins provided opportunities for speciation when fish populations were isolated.’