Definition of upset in US English:



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

    ‘the accusation upset her’
    • ‘Aimée glanced up at Logan and studied him, unhappy that she'd upset him by ‘going back on their agreement’.’
    • ‘Lorry guiltily watched Stephen disappear through the trees, aware that something was upsetting him.’
    • ‘The lessons were free, so I'm not worried about upsetting anyone.’
    • ‘Now he was worried about upsetting her, and part of him hated the feeling.’
    • ‘The girl seems worried about upsetting him or making him angry.’
    • ‘Seriously, yesterday's events really spooked, depressed and upset me.’
    • ‘It upsets me that people who don't know him personally can judge him.’
    • ‘Even the fall of the ninth wicket failed to 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.’
    • ‘You can tell if this is your problem by answering these questions: Does criticism or disapproval upset you?’
    • ‘I've seen reports this last week that have upset me when people in the media have called this guy names.’
    • ‘And because I'm her granddaughter, she is going to worry more about upsetting me than about being honest, maybe.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘We were constantly walking on eggshells because we were worried about upsetting him in case it would cause a situation.’
    • ‘In sixth grade, Landon's parents got divorced and it really upset him.’
    • ‘However, last week's paper upset me enough that I decided I should share my disappointment.’
    • ‘He hadn't meant to upset her, he just didn't want people worrying over him.’
    • ‘Kitty's disappearance, and Lydia's comment, had upset her.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I let my eyes close for just a moment, letting the feelings that upset me and worry me slip away.’
    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’
    • ‘A few minutes later, the ship trembled slightly, enough to make one lose their balance, but not enough to upset anything.’
    • ‘Her new paint jar was upset, along with the chair lying side ways on the floor.’
    • ‘‘Oh, I'm so terribly sorry’, he adds, thoroughly mortified, reaching for a napkin and upsetting the table again.’
    knock over, overturn, upend, tip over, push over, topple, topple over, capsize, turn topsy-turvy
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  • 3Cause disorder in (something); disrupt.

    ‘the dam will upset the ecological balance’
    • ‘Mankind has become like a plague to the planet, it offers it no ecological benefit, and upsets the existing ecological equilibrium.’
    • ‘I know both are extreme examples, but they demonstrate how easy the balance can be upset by careless dismissal or rework of crucial elements.’
    • ‘When gold was discovered in such vast quantities, it upset this delicate monetary balance.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It's best to retain inner balance and avoid being unduly upset by developments at work or at home.’
    • ‘While they cannot win, they can upset the normal campaigning balance.’
    • ‘The press cannot get enough of any new development that might upset that balance, and detonate an explosion.’
    • ‘Thus, the traditional ‘balance’ of offensive and defensive weapons could eventually be upset.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Meanwhile other developments threatened to upset the fragile strategic nuclear balance.’
    • ‘The balance of nature has been drastically upset and the environment is already paying the price.’
    • ‘Eucalyptus plantations in the Brazilian Amazon have wrecked vast swathes of the rainforest by upsetting the delicate ecological system.’
    • ‘Our culture seems amazingly adept at devouring what might harm or upset it.’
    • ‘Long hours and late hours could upset the ‘work-life balance’, especially when there are inadequate support systems.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Anything that knocks the weekly routine may upset the equilibrium.’
    • ‘I think this has the potential to upset the whole system.’
    • ‘However, this balance can be easily upset for a variety of reasons, which can result in pain, itching, irritation and infection.’
    • ‘The inclement weather upset the league again last weekend with no junior games being played.’
    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); cause (someone) to feel nauseous or unwell.
      • ‘The quick movement upset Jabin's stomach, and he kneeled over to relieve his stomach of the pressure.’
      • ‘But use the oil judiciously; too much may upset your stomach.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Recommended dosage is one lozenge every 2 hours, preferably with food, since zinc sometimes upsets the stomach.’
      • ‘If it upsets your stomach, reduce the dosage and consume it with a meal.’
      • ‘My stomach was upset and I had the world's worst headache.’
      • ‘Her weight dropped by more than 30 pounds; she was frightened that food would upset her stomach.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Razi took only the minimal food requirement, not wanting to upset her stomach on the ship.’
      • ‘All that concentration upset his stomach all over again.’
      • ‘Americans often believe that hot spices upset the stomach.’
      • ‘It was a dish I thought adults and kids would eat, even if their stomachs were upset from worry or illness or life.’
      • ‘Don't exceed these doses; large amounts of horseradish can upset your stomach.’
      • ‘‘After that we fed them meat… and maybe the moving bus also upset their stomachs,’ said Mhlauli.’
      • ‘Eating and exercising at the same time is more likely to upset your stomach than it is to motivate you.’
      • ‘When something feels awry, their agitation mounts, causing real stomach upset and pain.’
      • ‘Some people find that certain types of food upset their bowels and they may need to adjust their diet accordingly.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Avoid carbonated drinks as these are likely to upset your stomach more than still liquids’
  • 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.

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


Pronunciation /ˈəpset//ˈəpsɛt/
  • 1A state of being unhappy, disappointed, or worried.

    ‘domestic upsets’
    ‘a legal dispute will cause worry and upset’
    • ‘Local taxi drivers are becoming upset at the growing number of passengers who disappear after booking a taxi by telephone.’
    • ‘Teenage troublemakers who are causing upset in a corner of Morecambe are being warned against inflicting further misery on residents.’
    • ‘‘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.’
    • ‘It can get out of control and is the cause of much upset and worry for many people.’
    • ‘Walking over, his face showed rising worry and upset.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Henry always bounced back from disappointment and upset.’
    • ‘This causes considerable upset and anxiety for both the guide dog and its owner.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Solicitors for both told the court of their emotional upset because their lifestyle had made them failures as parents.’
    • ‘If there had been any upset or distress they could have left and gone home at any point.’
    • ‘Not knowing how to get through it was the main source of the worry and upset.’
    • ‘This may bring along depression and anxiety as a result of the upset caused by the floods.’
    • ‘It wasn't that my whole life had been filled with sadness and upset, but it hadn't been easy either.’
    • ‘Stress and upset can create a wealth of horrible sensations.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Joy said that insufficient sleep, alcohol consumption and emotional upsets can increase the severity of the symptoms.’
    • ‘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.’
    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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  • 2An unexpected result or situation, especially in a sports competition.

    ‘they caused one of last season's biggest upsets by winning 27–15’
    • ‘And so it has been for supporters of Roscommon and Leitrim who have seen ‘middling’ teams cause major and unexpected upsets over the years.’
    • ‘If you have a family, you have a responsibility to protect them against the unexpected upsets of life.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A McBride victory would represent one of the biggest upsets in Florida political history, according to analysts.’
    • ‘Again, things could be further complicated if there are upsets or no results in the minor matches.’
    • ‘Investment is the main outstanding issue, especially now as a result of Turkey's present economic upsets.’
    • ‘The result was one of the most dramatic political upsets since Indian independence almost 60 years ago.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Her defeat was the biggest upset so far at the Edmonton championships.’
    • ‘The Puerto Rican men's basketball team inflicted one of the greatest upsets in Olympic history today.’
    • ‘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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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 tournament has produced some of the most dramatic moments in sports with last-second miracle shots and massive upsets seemingly an annual event.’
    • ‘Germany sprang one of the greatest upsets in World Cup history in 1954 when they overcame Hungary, who had been unbeaten for four years.’
    • ‘And it's being described as one of the biggest upsets in Academy Awards history.’
    • ‘It is believed a firm upset by the situation were trying to get back equipment locked in the plant.’
    • ‘I think that you could make the case that it was the biggest upset in tournament history because it happened in a regional final.’
    • ‘The team started off the season with a shocking upset over the University of Manitoba, a team that hadn't lost since 1999.’
    unexpected result
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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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Mild temporary symptoms like headache and stomach upset are possible.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Angina pectoris may be precipitated by; muscular exertion, violent mental states, stomach upsets, or cold weather.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Side effects are relatively uncommon and include mild stomach upset, headache, insomnia or skin rash.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Many find that taking the drug with food reduces digestive upset.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Others reported a loss of appetite, insomnia, digestive upsets, palpitations, headaches, and muscular aches and pains.’
    • ‘It is best to seek a medical evaluation if you are having digestive upset.’
    • ‘It is characterised by dizziness, nausea (feeling sick) and a stomach upset.’
    • ‘German researchers recruited 60 adults who complained of indigestion or other stomach upsets (heartburn, nausea, gas or cramps).’
    • ‘There are now 41 patients suffering from the illness which causes stomach upsets and diarrhoea, a drop of six on yesterday's total.’
    • ‘Many stomach upsets are simply caused because our bodies are not used to exotic or spicy foods.’
    • ‘Sir Edward was being treated in Salzburg for a minor stomach upset when the pulmonary embolism was discovered.’
    • ‘Digestive upsets are easily caused by emotional tension, and pessimism can be a real problem.’
    disorder, complaint, ailment, illness, sickness, disease, malady, affliction, indisposition, infirmity
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Pronunciation /ˌəpˈsɛt//ˌəpˈset/
  • 1predicative Unhappy, disappointed, or worried.

    ‘she looked pale and upset’
    • ‘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’.’
    • ‘Oh, I never saw him upset about anything, but he got upset that day.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Everyone here is quite upset about the whole thing.’
    • ‘And they were very clearly upset about the arrests.’
    • ‘I am deeply upset and sorry that this happened and I hope the injured person makes a full recovery.’
    • ‘I remember how upset she looked leaving the ballroom.’
    • ‘She was more upset about the effect on her family than herself.’
    • ‘Others were also upset about Anderson's division of the resource.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I was quite upset about the article on pilots' salaries.’
    • ‘Limpopo farmers, who have been particularly hard hit by the drought, are extremely upset about the decision.’
    • ‘I told him I was very upset about the incident and that management should call me.’
    • ‘Dan and I were understandably upset about our fathers passing, as our mother had passed many years before.’
    • ‘Manufacturers are also upset about the decline of the tradition.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She was crying and apparently she was very upset.’
    • ‘Her eyes were red from crying, and her brothers looked worried, yet upset and angry.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Place 1 drop of Peppermint oil in 1/2 glass of water, sip slowly to aid digestion and relieve an upset stomach.’
    • ‘An upset stomach stopped him from training on Tuesday and Wednesday but he is back in action now.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The spokesman said that visitors can also be asked not to take fruit on to the ward if patients are suffering from upset stomachs.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Avoid raw vegetables (like salads) and fruits (especially citrus), which are difficult for an upset stomach to digest.’
    • ‘It was later explained that she had been suffering from an upset stomach.’
    • ‘Minor side effects are usually an upset stomach, nausea, and dizziness.’
    • ‘It costs pennies, and its side effect is an upset stomach.’
    • ‘A person with the condition feels full after a small meal and experiences bouts of nausea, upset stomach and bloating.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She said Kieran had not gone to school that day because he had an upset stomach and new braces on his teeth were hurting.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘‘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.’
    • ‘It seems lately just about anything I eat gives me an upset stomach.’
    • ‘There can be side effects, including headache, dizziness, heartburn and upset stomach.’
    • ‘However, its side effects consist of tiredness, upset stomach, nervousness, dizziness, and difficulty concentrating.’
    disordered, disturbed, unsettled, queasy, bad, poorly, ill, sick
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