from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To cause to turn or tip over; capsize.
  • transitive v. To disturb the functioning, order, or course of: Protesters upset the meeting by chanting and shouting.
  • transitive v. To distress or perturb mentally or emotionally: The bad news upset me.
  • transitive v. To overthrow; overturn: upset a will. See Synonyms at overthrow.
  • transitive v. To defeat unexpectedly (an opponent favored to win).
  • transitive v. To make (a heated metal bolt, for example) shorter and thicker by hammering on the end.
  • intransitive v. To become overturned; capsize.
  • intransitive v. To become disturbed.
  • n. The act of upsetting or the condition of being upset.
  • n. A disturbance, disorder, or state of agitation.
  • n. A game or contest in which the favorite is defeated.
  • n. A tool used for upsetting; a swage.
  • n. An upset part or piece.
  • adj. Having been overturned; capsized.
  • adj. Exhibiting signs and symptoms of indigestion: an upset stomach.
  • adj. In a state of emotional or mental distress; distraught: upset parents.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Angry, distressed, or unhappy.
  • adj. Feeling unwell, nauseated, or ready to vomit.
  • n. Disturbance or disruption.
  • n. An unexpected victory of a competitor that was not favored.
  • n. An overturn.
  • n. An upset stomach.
  • n. An upper set; a subset (X,≤) of a partially ordered set with the property that, if x is in U and x≤y, then y is in U.
  • v. To make (a person) angry, distressed, or unhappy.
  • v. To disturb, disrupt or adversely alter (something).
  • v. To tip or overturn (something).
  • v. To defeat unexpectedly.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Set up; fixed; determined; -- used chiefly or only in the phrase upset price; that is, the price fixed upon as the minimum for property offered in a public sale, or, in an auction, the price at which property is set up or started by the auctioneer, and the lowest price at which it will be sold.
  • n. The act of upsetting, or the state of being upset; an overturn.
  • intransitive v. To become upset.
  • transitive v. To set up; to put upright.
  • transitive v.
  • transitive v. To thicken and shorten, as a heated piece of iron, by hammering on the end.
  • transitive v. To shorten (a tire) in the process of resetting, originally by cutting it and hammering on the ends.
  • transitive v. To overturn, overthrow, or overset
  • transitive v. To disturb the self-possession of; to disorder the nerves of; to make ill.
  • transitive v. To turn upwards the outer ends of (stakes) so as to make a foundation for the side of a basket or the like; also, to form (the side) in this manner.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To set or place up.
  • To overturn; overthrow; overset, as a boat or a carriage; hence, figuratively, to throw into confusion; interfere with; spoil: as, to upset one's plans.
  • To put out of the normal state; put in disorder; of persons, to discompose completely; make nervous or irritable; overcome.
  • To shorten and thicken by hammering, as a heated piece of metal set up endwise: said also of the shortening and resetting of the tire of a wheel.
  • To be overturned or upset.
  • Set up; fixed; determined.
  • n. See the extract.
  • n. The act of upsetting, overturning, or severely discomposing, or the state of being upset; an overturn: as, the carriage had an upset; the news gave me quite an upset.

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

  • v. form metals with a swage
  • n. a physical condition in which there is a disturbance of normal functioning
  • v. disturb the balance or stability of
  • n. the act of disturbing the mind or body
  • n. a tool used to thicken or spread metal (the end of a bar or a rivet etc.) by forging or hammering or swaging
  • n. an improbable and unexpected victory
  • v. cause to overturn from an upright or normal position
  • v. cause to lose one's composure
  • adj. used of an unexpected defeat of a team favored to win
  • adj. mildly physically distressed
  • adj. having been turned so that the bottom is no longer the bottom
  • n. an unhappy and worried mental state
  • n. the act of upsetting something
  • v. move deeply
  • adj. afflicted with or marked by anxious uneasiness or trouble or grief
  • v. defeat suddenly and unexpectedly
  • adj. thrown into a state of disarray or confusion


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English upsetten, to set up : up-, up- + setten, to set; see set1.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English, corresponding to up +‎ set.



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  • The word set is also the past and presumably also the past participle of the verb set. So the word upset is also the past and presumably also the past participle of the verb upset.

    December 14, 2013

  • Artie tends to get this at times when something happens to Jim.

    October 3, 2012

  • Original meaning seems quite opposed to current meaning.

    April 25, 2011