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The Complete Vocabulary Builder Workbook



How to pronounce upset (audio)

Dictionary definition of upset

To make someone feel troubled, anxious, or distressed emotionally.
"The unexpected news upset her greatly."

Detailed meaning of upset

This can pertain to causing someone to feel sad, worried, or angry by one’s words or actions. Additionally, it can also refer to disrupting an order or arrangement, or unsettling a state of equilibrium, which is to say it involves disturbing the normal course or stability of something. For instance, when a routine or a schedule is upset, it has been altered or made less predictable. In a sporting context, the term can indicate an unexpected result, where a person or a team that was not favored to win, triumphs over a stronger opponent. It is essential to understand the context to grasp which particular meaning of 'upset' is being employed.

Example sentences containing upset

1. The underdog team managed to upset the champions in yesterday’s game.
2. Please be careful not to upset the vase on the table.
3. His late arrival upset the whole schedule.
4. The loud noise upset the baby, making him cry.
5. Eating too much junk food can upset your stomach.
6. The delicate balance of the ecosystem can be upset by pollution.

History and etymology of upset

The verb 'upset' has its roots in the Middle English term 'upsetten,' which meant to overturn or overturn something physically. Over time, the word evolved to also convey the idea of turning one's emotional state upside down. In its modern usage, 'upset' signifies the act of making someone feel troubled, anxious, or emotionally distressed. This evolution in meaning reflects the concept of one's emotions being figuratively turned upside down or disrupted, leading to a state of emotional turmoil or distress.

Quiz: Find the meaning of upset

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Further usage examples of upset

1. She did not mean to upset you with her comment.
2. The sudden change in temperature upset the experiment's results.
3. The loss of her job upset her financial plans for the year.
4. The strong winds upset the boat, causing it to capsize.
5. His inability to find his keys upset the morning routine.
6. The news of her illness upset her family deeply.
7. His harsh words upset her during their argument.
8. The loss in the final moments of the game upset the fans.
9. Don't upset yourself over minor setbacks.
10. The movie's ending had the audience upset and in tears.
11. The unexpected cancellation of the flight upset passengers.
12. She tried not to upset her friend with her candid opinion.
13. Criticism from her boss always upset her confidence.
14. The social media post upset many with its offensive content.
15. His behavior can easily upset the delicate balance at work.
16. A well-timed compliment can often help soothe upset feelings.
17. They didn't want to upset their parents with the news.
18. The sudden change in plans upset their weekend getaway.
19. It's essential to address issues that upset workplace harmony.
20. Hearing about the accident upset everyone in the neighborhood.
21. She didn't mean to upset you with her thoughtless comment.
22. The negative reviews upset the restaurant's reputation.
23. Please avoid discussing sensitive topics to prevent upset.
24. The noise from construction work upset the peaceful atmosphere.
25. Try not to upset yourself over things beyond your control.



disturb, soothe, calm, comfort


TOEFL 6, Frustration and Exasperation, Emotional Intensity and Reactions

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