Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To stand, set, or turn on one end.
  • intransitive verb To invalidate, destroy, or change completely; overthrow.
  • intransitive verb To win victory over; defeat.
  • intransitive verb To be upended.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To stand on end.
  • To set on end, as a barrel.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb To end up; to set on end, as a cask.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb transitive To end up; to set on end.
  • verb To tip or turn over.
  • verb To destroy, invalidate, overthrow, or defeat.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb set, turn, or stand on end
  • verb become turned or set on end

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From up- +‎ end.

Examples

  • The Fed's new rules "upend" the card business and fast-forwarding them would "create huge implementation challenges," said Kenneth Clayton, senior vice president of card policy at the American Bankers Association.

    Policy Makers Take Aim at Credit-Card Practices

  • Speaking during the first of the BBC Daily Politics debates between party spokesmen, the foreign secretary said Cameron appeared to want to "upend" sixty years of cooperation with the Chinese.

    Yahoo! News: Latest news headlines News Headlines | Top Stories

  • Speaking during the first of the BBC Daily Politics debates between party spokesmen, the foreign secretary said Cameron appeared to want to "upend" sixty years of cooperation with the Chinese.

    Yahoo! News: Latest news headlines News Headlines | Top Stories

  • Departing Justice David H. Souter sided with the minority in this case, expressing dismay in his dissent and suggesting the decision could "upend," said the Times, the federal civil litigation system.

    Republic Broadcasting Network

  • New economic problems could "upend" the last leg of the presidential

    Blogrunner

  • Their abrupt departures—following a series of controversial public comments by Mr. Ratner—threatened to upend what is typically a meticulously calculated, lavish affair.

    Grazer In, Murphy Out at Oscars

  • But a win by Mr. Gingrich would upend the perception that Mr. Romney is the inevitable GOP nominee.

    Gingrich Wins in South Carolina, Networks Say

  • He had come into power, in 1969, against the background of the time—an era when the Arab world still believed that rough men from the military would dispense justice, upend the old order of kings and notables, and bring about a "revolutionary" society.

    Gadhafi and the Swindle of Dictatorship

  • Harder to estimate is how irrational fears could upend those calculations.

    Panic Could Do More Damage to Global Growth than Japan's Earthquake

  • Mr. Blinder's hindsight observations of the euro-zone problems mirror the foresight of many European economists who rigorously defined the criteria for an optimum currency-zone, during the formative years of the EMU and EMS. Then, as now, the political leaders attempted to upend economic law by mandating all members to meet the optimum currency-zone criteria through "Maastricht" rules, rather than creating a currency zone from the set of countries meeting the criteria.

    Europe's Problem Is Not Germany's High Productivity

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