Definition of upset in English:



[with object]
Pronunciation /ʌpˈsɛt/
  • 1Make (someone) unhappy, disappointed, or worried.

    ‘the accusation upset her’
    • ‘Now he was worried about upsetting her, and part of him hated the feeling.’
    • ‘She was so brisk and to the point that Fred felt uneasy and worried she might upset her when she had to tell her she didn't really know where Angel's car was found.’
    • ‘Lorry guiltily watched Stephen disappear through the trees, aware that something was upsetting him.’
    • ‘Even the fall of the ninth wicket failed to upset him.’
    • ‘However, last week's paper upset me enough that I decided I should share my disappointment.’
    • ‘Seriously, yesterday's events really spooked, depressed and upset me.’
    • ‘In sixth grade, Landon's parents got divorced and it really upset him.’
    • ‘‘It upsets me when people say Scots are not good enough, because we do have some very good athletes on the world stage,’ he said.’
    • ‘The girl seems worried about upsetting him or making him angry.’
    • ‘He hadn't meant to upset her, he just didn't want people worrying over him.’
    • ‘The lessons were free, so I'm not worried about upsetting anyone.’
    • ‘I let my eyes close for just a moment, letting the feelings that upset me and worry me slip away.’
    • ‘Kitty's disappearance, and Lydia's comment, had upset her.’
    • ‘Aimée glanced up at Logan and studied him, unhappy that she'd upset him by ‘going back on their agreement’.’
    • ‘You can tell if this is your problem by answering these questions: Does criticism or disapproval upset you?’
    • ‘We were constantly walking on eggshells because we were worried about upsetting him in case it would cause a situation.’
    • ‘We know how much these things matter to you - how it upsets you that most people in Washington won't even return your calls anymore.’
    • ‘It upsets me that people who don't know him personally can judge him.’
    • ‘And because I'm her granddaughter, she is going to worry more about upsetting me than about being honest, maybe.’
    • ‘I've seen reports this last week that have upset me when people in the media have called this guy names.’
    distress, trouble, perturb, disturb, discompose, unsettle, disconcert, discountenance, dismay, disquiet, worry, bother, inconvenience, agitate, fluster, throw, ruffle, unnerve, shake, frighten, alarm, anger, annoy, irritate, vex, irk, fret, pester, harass, torment, plague, hurt, grieve
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  • 2Knock (something) over.

    ‘he upset a tureen of soup’
    • ‘‘Oh, I'm so terribly sorry’, he adds, thoroughly mortified, reaching for a napkin and upsetting the table again.’
    • ‘Her new paint jar was upset, along with the chair lying side ways on the floor.’
    • ‘A few minutes later, the ship trembled slightly, enough to make one lose their balance, but not enough to upset anything.’
    knock over, overturn, upend, tip over, push over, topple, topple over, capsize, turn topsy-turvy
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  • 3Cause disorder in; disrupt.

    ‘the dam will upset the ecological balance’
    • ‘You're born with balance, but bad habits like depriving yourself of the foods you need or ignoring high stress levels can upset that balance and cause you to gain weight.’
    • ‘We read regularly about the horrors that can befall our planet if we upset the fine ecological balance.’
    • ‘Meanwhile other developments threatened to upset the fragile strategic nuclear balance.’
    • ‘The press cannot get enough of any new development that might upset that balance, and detonate an explosion.’
    • ‘Our culture seems amazingly adept at devouring what might harm or upset it.’
    • ‘The inclement weather upset the league again last weekend with no junior games being played.’
    • ‘When gold was discovered in such vast quantities, it upset this delicate monetary balance.’
    • ‘Eucalyptus plantations in the Brazilian Amazon have wrecked vast swathes of the rainforest by upsetting the delicate ecological system.’
    • ‘However, this balance can be easily upset for a variety of reasons, which can result in pain, itching, irritation and infection.’
    • ‘I know both are extreme examples, but they demonstrate how easy the balance can be upset by careless dismissal or rework of crucial elements.’
    • ‘Anything that knocks the weekly routine may upset the equilibrium.’
    • ‘I think this has the potential to upset the whole system.’
    • ‘Mankind has become like a plague to the planet, it offers it no ecological benefit, and upsets the existing ecological equilibrium.’
    • ‘While birds of prey had once played an important role in maintaining the balance of nature, that balance had been upset when human hunters arrived on the scene.’
    • ‘Long hours and late hours could upset the ‘work-life balance’, especially when there are inadequate support systems.’
    • ‘While they cannot win, they can upset the normal campaigning balance.’
    • ‘Thus, the traditional ‘balance’ of offensive and defensive weapons could eventually be upset.’
    • ‘In the early stages I picked up some debris, which damaged my deflector and upset the balance of the car, which made it difficult to handle for the rest of the Grand Prix.’
    • ‘The balance of nature has been drastically upset and the environment is already paying the price.’
    • ‘It's best to retain inner balance and avoid being unduly upset by developments at work or at home.’
    disrupt, interfere with, disturb, throw out, turn topsy-turvy, disorder, unsettle, confuse, throw into confusion, throw into chaos, throw into disorder, disorganize, disarrange, mix up, jumble, mess up, wreck, ruin
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    1. 3.1 Disturb the digestion of (a person's stomach)
      ‘the motion of the boat would upset his stomach’
      • ‘It was a dish I thought adults and kids would eat, even if their stomachs were upset from worry or illness or life.’
      • ‘‘After that we fed them meat… and maybe the moving bus also upset their stomachs,’ said Mhlauli.’
      • ‘Recommended dosage is one lozenge every 2 hours, preferably with food, since zinc sometimes upsets the stomach.’
      • ‘My stomach was upset and I had the world's worst headache.’
      • ‘However, if drinking a shake before or during a workout upsets your stomach or you just don't like drinking a mix in the gym, then time is of the essence when your training ends.’
      • ‘While garlic upsets Dad's stomach, it just deprives me of sleep.’
      • ‘When something feels awry, their agitation mounts, causing real stomach upset and pain.’
      • ‘The quick movement upset Jabin's stomach, and he kneeled over to relieve his stomach of the pressure.’
      • ‘All that concentration upset his stomach all over again.’
      • ‘Eating and exercising at the same time is more likely to upset your stomach than it is to motivate you.’
      • ‘Avoid carbonated drinks as these are likely to upset your stomach more than still liquids’
      • ‘Her weight dropped by more than 30 pounds; she was frightened that food would upset her stomach.’
      • ‘Americans often believe that hot spices upset the stomach.’
      • ‘Some people find that certain types of food upset their bowels and they may need to adjust their diet accordingly.’
      • ‘Don't exceed these doses; large amounts of horseradish can upset your stomach.’
      • ‘There are certain medications that upset the stomach while others affect the mouth or throat which may make it difficult for the patient to eat.’
      • ‘Razi took only the minimal food requirement, not wanting to upset her stomach on the ship.’
      • ‘It was delicious wine, though Geneva only drank water for she was fearful the strong liquid would upset her stomach, or perhaps hurt the baby.’
      • ‘But use the oil judiciously; too much may upset your stomach.’
      • ‘If it upsets your stomach, reduce the dosage and consume it with a meal.’
  • 4often as noun upsettingShorten and thicken the end or edge of (a metal bar, wheel rim, or other object), especially by hammering or pressure when heated.

    • ‘This process was developed originally to gather, or upset metal to form heads on bolts.’
    • ‘Pressure is then applied and the arcs are extinguished and upsetting occurs.’


Pronunciation /ˈʌpsɛt/
  • 1An unexpected result or situation.

    ‘the greatest upset in boxing history’
    • ‘This week the Cafe Kronborg Monday Bowling League had some upsets and some close matches, but Mio's team stayed firmly on top, as the rest of the league begins to slip away.’
    • ‘And so it has been for supporters of Roscommon and Leitrim who have seen ‘middling’ teams cause major and unexpected upsets over the years.’
    • ‘A McBride victory would represent one of the biggest upsets in Florida political history, according to analysts.’
    • ‘The tournament has produced some of the most dramatic moments in sports with last-second miracle shots and massive upsets seemingly an annual event.’
    • ‘As the election campaign gathers pace, a discernible public alienation and antagonism is being felt around the mainstream parties that may result in some unexpected upsets at the polls’
    • ‘Investment is the main outstanding issue, especially now as a result of Turkey's present economic upsets.’
    • ‘Fifty years after recording perhaps the greatest upset in endurance racing history, Sir Stirling Moss and the little Italian sports car he drove to victory are returning to Sebring.’
    • ‘And it's being described as one of the biggest upsets in Academy Awards history.’
    • ‘The Puerto Rican men's basketball team inflicted one of the greatest upsets in Olympic history today.’
    • ‘The result was one of the most dramatic political upsets since Indian independence almost 60 years ago.’
    • ‘It can be as simple as assigning selected swimmers to highly unexpected events, or as complex as attempting to orchestrate upsets in predetermined key races.’
    • ‘Her defeat was the biggest upset so far at the Edmonton championships.’
    • ‘I think that you could make the case that it was the biggest upset in tournament history because it happened in a regional final.’
    • ‘Again, things could be further complicated if there are upsets or no results in the minor matches.’
    • ‘If you have a family, you have a responsibility to protect them against the unexpected upsets of life.’
    • ‘It is believed a firm upset by the situation were trying to get back equipment locked in the plant.’
    • ‘Germany sprang one of the greatest upsets in World Cup history in 1954 when they overcame Hungary, who had been unbeaten for four years.’
    • ‘Various national upsets within the party, specifically revelations that one politician was on a list of tax defaulters, had also marred the image of the party and of politicians as a whole.’
    • ‘The team started off the season with a shocking upset over the University of Manitoba, a team that hadn't lost since 1999.’
    • ‘Others argue that the two-week interim since the semi-final stage allowed bands to do so much work on their selections that an upset could result.’
    unexpected result
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  • 2mass noun The state of being unhappy, disappointed, or worried.

    ‘a legal dispute will cause worry and upset’
    • ‘It can get out of control and is the cause of much upset and worry for many people.’
    • ‘Christine, who now works at Woodhead Brothers, Colne, broke down as she heard the verdict and said she was looking forward to getting back to a normal life after ten months of worry and upset and the threat of jail.’
    • ‘Anyone who has ever come home to the sick feeling of being broken into will know that this is a crime that can cause lasting upset and unease.’
    • ‘Teenage troublemakers who are causing upset in a corner of Morecambe are being warned against inflicting further misery on residents.’
    • ‘Solicitors for both told the court of their emotional upset because their lifestyle had made them failures as parents.’
    • ‘This causes considerable upset and anxiety for both the guide dog and its owner.’
    • ‘It wasn't that my whole life had been filled with sadness and upset, but it hadn't been easy either.’
    • ‘Walking over, his face showed rising worry and upset.’
    • ‘It has caused huge upset and distress to communities, deprived landowners of their property and cut people off from facilities provided at great expense from their taxes.’
    • ‘Stress and upset can create a wealth of horrible sensations.’
    • ‘‘She went to bed feeling upset, shocked and sick,’ Mr Murphy said.’
    • ‘The defendant has further submitted that the claimant cannot recover for upset, nightmares or flashbacks as these do not amount to psychological injury.’
    • ‘Henry always bounced back from disappointment and upset.’
    • ‘The mother of a 10-year-old boy has spoken of her shock and upset after she found out her son had been excluded from school via a text message from his headmaster.’
    • ‘Local taxi drivers are becoming upset at the growing number of passengers who disappear after booking a taxi by telephone.’
    • ‘If there had been any upset or distress they could have left and gone home at any point.’
    • ‘However, due to the shock of the experience and the upset caused to the young boy, the pair cut their holiday short and returned home.’
    • ‘This may bring along depression and anxiety as a result of the upset caused by the floods.’
    • ‘Joy said that insufficient sleep, alcohol consumption and emotional upsets can increase the severity of the symptoms.’
    • ‘Not knowing how to get through it was the main source of the worry and upset.’
    distress, trouble, perturbation, disturbance, discomposure, dismay, disquiet, worry, bother, inconvenience, agitation, fluster, alarm, fright, anger, annoyance, irritation, vexation, harassment, torment, hurt, grief
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  • 3A disturbance of a person's digestive system.

    ‘a stomach upset’
    • ‘This could lead to side effects such as insomnia, nervousness, digestive upset and irritability.’
    • ‘Angina pectoris may be precipitated by; muscular exertion, violent mental states, stomach upsets, or cold weather.’
    • ‘German researchers recruited 60 adults who complained of indigestion or other stomach upsets (heartburn, nausea, gas or cramps).’
    • ‘Many arthritis sufferers benefit greatly from the pain relief provided by anti-inflammatory prescription drugs, but they can suffer unpleasant side effects, such as gastric irritation and stomach upsets.’
    • ‘There are now 41 patients suffering from the illness which causes stomach upsets and diarrhoea, a drop of six on yesterday's total.’
    • ‘High doses of vitamin B6 can cause nerve damage, while excessive amounts of vitamin D can lead to muscle weakness, stomach upsets, kidney stones and growth problems in children.’
    • ‘It is characterised by dizziness, nausea (feeling sick) and a stomach upset.’
    • ‘Many find that taking the drug with food reduces digestive upset.’
    • ‘Many stomach upsets are simply caused because our bodies are not used to exotic or spicy foods.’
    • ‘It is best to seek a medical evaluation if you are having digestive upset.’
    • ‘Research commissioned by Yakult indicates that one in five of all adults suffered from stomach upsets, constipation or diarrhoea in the last three months.’
    • ‘There are possible side-effects including nausea, stomach upsets and stomach ulcers.’
    • ‘Sir Edward was being treated in Salzburg for a minor stomach upset when the pulmonary embolism was discovered.’
    • ‘Mild temporary symptoms like headache and stomach upset are possible.’
    • ‘As babies are susceptible to digestive upsets, always work with clean hands and use clean cooking utensils, preparation surfaces, pots and pans etc., when making home made baby food.’
    • ‘Side effects are relatively uncommon and include mild stomach upset, headache, insomnia or skin rash.’
    • ‘Digestive upsets are easily caused by emotional tension, and pessimism can be a real problem.’
    • ‘Its main use has always been as an antiseptic, effective against a wide range of bacteria and fungi and used for colds, chest infections and digestive upsets.’
    • ‘Others reported a loss of appetite, insomnia, digestive upsets, palpitations, headaches, and muscular aches and pains.’
    • ‘If your stomach upset lasts for longer than three days you should visit a doctor for further advice. Anti-diarrhoeal medications should be used with caution and only for a short time.’
    disorder, complaint, ailment, illness, sickness, disease, malady, affliction, indisposition, infirmity
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  • 1Unhappy, disappointed, or worried.

    ‘she looked pale and upset’
    • ‘Manufacturers are also upset about the decline of the tradition.’
    • ‘At Monday's meeting Cllr Deering stated that he was ‘very upset and angered that someone would go off to the media and publicly ridicule me’.’
    • ‘There are many in the party who are desperately and bitterly upset about what happened to Simon Crean, so they are not happy about having to choose another leader.’
    • ‘Launching a staunch defence of his actions, Mr Ferris said that he and his family were deeply upset and angry at the inference made in the front-page report in the Sunday World.’
    • ‘She was more upset about the effect on her family than herself.’
    • ‘I told him I was very upset about the incident and that management should call me.’
    • ‘Limpopo farmers, who have been particularly hard hit by the drought, are extremely upset about the decision.’
    • ‘Oh, I never saw him upset about anything, but he got upset that day.’
    • ‘Her eyes were red from crying, and her brothers looked worried, yet upset and angry.’
    • ‘She was crying and apparently she was very upset.’
    • ‘The upset father said he was not only worried about the physical injuries but also the mental trauma that would probably plague the boy for years to come.’
    • ‘I remember how upset she looked leaving the ballroom.’
    • ‘I was upset and distraught - I had no one around who could give me some support - but very quickly I got angry and sent an email to Geoff Hoon complaining about the decision.’
    • ‘I am deeply upset and sorry that this happened and I hope the injured person makes a full recovery.’
    • ‘Others were also upset about Anderson's division of the resource.’
    • ‘I was quite upset about the article on pilots' salaries.’
    • ‘Everyone here is quite upset about the whole thing.’
    • ‘Dan and I were understandably upset about our fathers passing, as our mother had passed many years before.’
    • ‘And they were very clearly upset about the arrests.’
    • ‘I got these nasty text messages from my so-called friends and I was really upset about it.’
    distressed, troubled, perturbed, disturbed, discomposed, unsettled, disconcerted, discountenanced, dismayed, disquieted, worried, bothered, inconvenienced, anxious, agitated, flustered, ruffled, unnerved, shaken, frightened, alarmed, angered, annoyed, irritated, vexed, irked, fretted, hurt, saddened, grieved
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  • 2(of a person's stomach) having disturbed digestion, especially because of something eaten.

    • ‘No one suffered serious injuries, but one of the victims did complain of a badly upset stomach for more than 24 hours.’
    • ‘An upset stomach stopped him from training on Tuesday and Wednesday but he is back in action now.’
    • ‘Well over half of the expedition were evacuated with insect bites and upset stomachs during the four months it took to get the vehicles through.’
    • ‘It was later explained that she had been suffering from an upset stomach.’
    • ‘It seems lately just about anything I eat gives me an upset stomach.’
    • ‘The court heard Mr Stones and Miss Collins felt no ill effects but Mr Gill suffered an upset stomach and diarrhoea and headache and had to take a day off work.’
    • ‘A person with the condition feels full after a small meal and experiences bouts of nausea, upset stomach and bloating.’
    • ‘And your family doctor is usually so busy anyway it may take more than a day to get an appointment - by which time your headache, upset stomach or dodgy back may be already on the mend.’
    • ‘Travellers' tales of upset stomachs are all too common in this part of the world for those foolish enough to risk salads or the local water.’
    • ‘There can be side effects, including headache, dizziness, heartburn and upset stomach.’
    • ‘The same goes for greasy foods, which can be difficult to digest and can cause upset stomach and heartburn.’
    • ‘Plus, having food in your belly can lower your chances of upset stomach, which vitamins can sometimes cause.’
    • ‘Place 1 drop of Peppermint oil in 1/2 glass of water, sip slowly to aid digestion and relieve an upset stomach.’
    • ‘It costs pennies, and its side effect is an upset stomach.’
    • ‘The spokesman said that visitors can also be asked not to take fruit on to the ward if patients are suffering from upset stomachs.’
    • ‘She said Kieran had not gone to school that day because he had an upset stomach and new braces on his teeth were hurting.’
    • ‘However, its side effects consist of tiredness, upset stomach, nervousness, dizziness, and difficulty concentrating.’
    • ‘Avoid raw vegetables (like salads) and fruits (especially citrus), which are difficult for an upset stomach to digest.’
    • ‘Minor side effects are usually an upset stomach, nausea, and dizziness.’
    • ‘‘Some antibiotics tend to upset the stomach so if you take them with food there is more of a chance you would suffer an upset stomach,’ he said.’
    disordered, disturbed, unsettled, queasy, bad, poorly, ill, sick
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