To be upset is to be disturbed or very unhappy. You can be upset, and you can also upset someone — but you probably didn’t mean to.

Upset has multiple senses. It generally refers to something that has been knocked over, turned upside down, or disturbed. Just as your coffee cup can be upset — knocked over or disturbed –- so can your emotions –- and your stomach. Upset can also refer to an unexpected victory. You might be so upset by the upset of your favorite team that you upset your table in frustration.

Primary Meanings of upset

cause to lose one's composure
an unhappy and worried mental state
afflicted with or marked by anxious uneasiness or trouble or grief
cause to overturn from an upright or normal position
the act of upsetting something
having been turned so that the bottom is no longer the bottom
defeat suddenly and unexpectedly
an improbable and unexpected victory
used of an unexpected defeat of a team favored to win
form metals with a swage
a tool used to thicken or spread metal (the end of a bar or a rivet etc.) by forging or hammering or swaging
Full Definitions of upset

v cause to lose one's composure

discomfit, discompose, disconcert, untune
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enervate, faze, unnerve, unsettle
disturb the composure of
cause to lose control emotionally
bemuse, bewilder, discombobulate, throw
cause to be confused emotionally
abash, embarrass
cause to be embarrassed; cause to feel self-conscious
anguish, hurt, pain
cause emotional anguish or make miserable
cause great unhappiness for; distress
cause to lose one's nerve
confuse, disconcert, flurry, put off
cause to feel embarrassment
break someone's heart
cause deep emotional pain and grief to somebody
agonise, agonize
cause to agonize
aggrieve, grieve
cause to feel sorrow
oppress or trouble greatly
strain, stress, try
test the limits of
give pain or trouble to
excruciate, rack, torment, torture
torment emotionally or mentally
Type of:
arouse, elicit, enkindle, evoke, fire, kindle, provoke, raise
call forth (emotions, feelings, and responses)

v move deeply

“This book upset me”
disturb, trouble
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agitate, charge, charge up, commove, excite, rouse, turn on
cause to be agitated, excited, or roused
disturb (someone's) composure
cark, disorder, disquiet, distract, perturb, trouble, unhinge
disturb in mind or make uneasy or cause to be worried or alarmed
cause mental pain to
hype up, psych up
get excited or stimulated
vex, worry
disturb the peace of mind of; afflict with mental agitation or distress
make nervous or agitated
cause to feel distressed or worried
make upset or troubled
excite suddenly and intensely
Type of:
affect, impress, move, strike
have an emotional or cognitive impact upon

n an unhappy and worried mental state

“she didn't realize the upset she caused me”
disturbance, perturbation
Type of:
a mental state of extreme emotional disturbance

n a physical condition in which there is a disturbance of normal functioning

“everyone gets stomach upsets from time to time”
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immunological disorder
a disorder of the immune system
functional disorder
disorder showing symptoms for which no physiological or anatomical cause can be identified
organic disorder
disorder caused by a detectable physiological or structural change in an organ
the condition in which the upper teeth do not touch the lower teeth when biting
abruptio placentae
a disorder of pregnancy in which the placenta prematurely separates from the wall of the uterus
an abnormal deficiency or absence of free hydrochloric acid in the gastric juice; often associated with severe anemias and cancer of the stomach
acholia, cholestasis
a condition in which little or no bile is secreted or the flow of bile into the digestive tract is obstructed
achylia, achylia gastrica
absence of gastric juices (partial or complete)
acute brain disorder, acute organic brain syndrome
any disorder (as sudden confusion or disorientation) in an otherwise normal person that is due to reversible (temporary) impairment of brain tissues (as by head injuries or drugs or infection)
ailment, complaint, ill
an often persistent bodily disorder or disease; a cause for complaining
eating disorder
a disorder of the normal eating routine
bladder disorder
a disorder of the urinary bladder
cardiovascular disease
a disease of the heart or blood vessels
celiac disease
a disorder in children and adults; inability to tolerate wheat protein (gluten); symptoms include foul-smelling diarrhea and emaciation; often accompanied by lactose intolerance
cheilosis, perleche
a disorder of the lips marked by scaling and fissures at the corners of the mouth; caused by a deficiency of riboflavin
a condition caused by blocking the airways to the lungs (as with food or swelling of the larynx)
a condition in which the vagina is unusually dry
degenerative disorder
condition leading to progressive loss of function
a disorder in the sense of touch
dysosmia, olfactory impairment, parosamia
a disorder in the sense of smell
condition in which swallowing is difficult or painful
painful or difficult urination
loss of ability to function normally
an ill-defined state of irritability and distress
adenosis, gland disease, glandular disease, glandular disorder
a disorder of the glands of the body
a condition characterized by excessive restlessness and movement
impacted tooth, impaction
a disorder in which a tooth is so crowded in its socket that it cannot erupt normally
a disorder in which feces are impacted in the lower colon
learning disability, learning disorder
a disorder found in children of normal intelligence who have difficulties in learning specific skills
(dentistry) a condition in which the opposing teeth do not mesh normally
idiopathic disease, idiopathic disorder, idiopathy
any disease arising from internal dysfunctions of unknown cause
disturbance, folie, mental disorder, mental disturbance, psychological disorder
(psychiatry) a psychological disorder of thought or emotion; a more neutral term than mental illness
metabolic disorder
a disorder or defect of metabolism
nervous disorder, neurological disease, neurological disorder
a disorder of the nervous system
disorder in which serous fluid accumulates in a body sac (especially in the scrotum)
sleep disorder
a disturbance of the normal sleep pattern
the condition of having respiration stopped by compression of the air passage
haematocolpometra, hematocolpometra
accumulation of blood in the vagina and uterus
haematocolpos, hematocolpos
accumulation of menstrual blood in the vagina (usually due to an imperforate hymen)
defect of speech, speech defect, speech disorder
a disorder of oral speech
psilosis, sprue, tropical sprue
a chronic disorder that occurs in tropical and non-tropical forms and in both children and adults; nutrients are not absorbed; symptoms include foul-smelling diarrhea and emaciation
immunological disorder in which some part of the body's immune system is inadequate and resistance to infectious diseases is reduced
lowering the body's normal immune response to invasion by foreign substances; can be deliberate (as in lowering the immune response to prevent rejection of a transplanted organ) or incidental (as a side effect of radiotherapy or chemotherapy for cancer)
an inability to stay awake
an inability to sleep; chronic sleeplessness
pavor nocturnus, sleep terror disorder
a disorder of sleep characterized by a dream of terrifying dimensions far worse than a typical nightmare; they occur during NREM sleep
a prolonged disorder of eating due to loss of appetite
an eating disorder, frequent in children, in which non-nutritional objects are eaten persistently
binge-purge syndrome, binge-vomit syndrome, bulima nervosa, bulimarexia
a disorder of eating in which the person alternates between strong craving for food and aversion to food; characterized by excessive eating followed by periods of fasting or self-induced vomiting
binge-eating syndrome, bulimia
a disorder of eating seen among young women who go on eating binges and then feel guilt and depression and self-condemnation
loss of the myelin covering of some nerve fibers resulting in their impaired function
any degenerative disorder resulting from inadequate or faulty nutrition
(dentistry) malocclusion in which the upper teeth extend abnormally far over the lower teeth
excessive secretion of parathyroid hormone resulting in abnormally high levels of calcium in the blood; can affect many systems of the body (especially causing bone resorption and osteoporosis)
inadequate secretion of parathyroid hormone resulting in abnormally low levels of calcium in the blood
excessive activity of the pituitary gland (especially overactivity of the anterior lobe which leads to excess secretion of growth hormone)
Asperger's syndrome
a psychiatric disorder usually noted during early school years; characterized by impaired social relations and by repetitive patterns of behavior
alcaptonuria, alkaptonuria
a rare recessive metabolic anomaly marked by ochronosis and the presence of alkapton in the urine
brain damage
injury to the brain that impairs its functions (especially permanently); can be caused by trauma to the head, infection, hemorrhage, inadequate oxygen, genetic abnormality, etc.
brain disease, brain disorder, encephalopathy
any disorder or disease of the brain
ataxia, ataxy, dyssynergia, motor ataxia
inability to coordinate voluntary muscle movements; unsteady movements and staggering gait
atopognosia, atopognosis
absence or loss of topognosia; inability to locate correctly a point of touch
abnormality in performing voluntary muscle movements
MS, disseminated multiple sclerosis, disseminated sclerosis, multiple sclerosis
a chronic progressive nervous disorder involving loss of myelin sheath around certain nerve fibers
Parkinson's, Parkinson's disease, Parkinson's syndrome, Parkinsonism, paralysis agitans, shaking palsy
a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system characterized by tremor and impaired muscular coordination
any of several degenerative nervous disorders characterized by spasmodic movements of the body and limbs
flaccid paralysis
weakness or loss of muscle tone resulting from injury or disease of the nerves innervating the muscles
impaired ability to learn grade-appropriate mathematics
impaired ability to learn to write
impaired ability to learn to read
partial or total loss of articulate speech resulting from lesions of the central nervous system
cardiopathy, heart disease
a disease of the heart
high blood pressure, hypertension
a common disorder in which blood pressure remains abnormally high (a reading of 140/90 mm Hg or greater)
abnormally low blood pressure
ALS, Lou Gehrig's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
thickening of tissue in the motor tracts of the lateral columns and anterior horns of the spinal cord; results in progressive muscle atrophy that starts in the limbs
aneurism, aneurysm
a cardiovascular disease characterized by a saclike widening of an artery resulting from weakening of the artery wall
a continuous succession of slow, writhing, involuntary movements of the hands and feet and other body parts
a progressive disease of the central nervous system marked by increasing lack of coordination and advancing to paralysis and death within a year of the appearance of symptoms; thought to have been transmitted by cannibalistic consumption of diseased brain tissue since the disease virtually disappeared when cannibalism was abandoned
nerve compression
harmful pressure on a nerve (especially in nerves that pass over rigid prominences); causes nerve damage and muscle weakness
circulatory failure
failure of the cardiovascular system to supply adequate amounts of blood to body tissues
coronary failure, heart failure
inability of the heart to pump enough blood to sustain normal bodily functions
kidney failure, renal failure
inability of the kidneys to excrete wastes and to help maintain the electrolyte balance
Addison's disease, Addison's syndrome, hypoadrenalism, hypoadrenocorticism
a glandular disorder caused by failure of function of the cortex of the adrenal gland and marked by anemia and prostration with brownish skin
a glandular disease or enlargement of glandular tissue (especially of the lymph glands)
aldosteronism, hyperaldosteronism
a condition caused by overproduction of aldosterone
Cushing's disease, hyperadrenalism
a glandular disorder caused by excessive ACTH resulting in greater than normal functioning of the adrenal gland; characterized by obesity
Cushing's syndrome, hyperadrenocorticism
a glandular disorder caused by excessive cortisol
hyperthyroidism, thyrotoxicosis
an overactive thyroid gland; pathologically excessive production of thyroid hormones or the condition resulting from excessive production of thyroid hormones
an underactive thyroid gland; a glandular disorder resulting from insufficient production of thyroid hormones
reduction or lack of an immune response to a specific antigen
inborn error of metabolism
any of a number of diseases in which an inherited defect (usually a missing or inadequate enzyme) results in an abnormality of metabolism
a disorder of lipid metabolism; abnormal levels of certain fats accumulate in the body
lysine intolerance
a disorder in which a lack of certain enzymes makes it impossible to digest the amino acid lysine
a minor nonspecific ailment
kinetosis, motion sickness
the state of being dizzy or nauseated because of the motions that occur while traveling in or on a moving vehicle
any of various disorders of lipoprotein and cholesterol metabolism that result in high levels of lipoprotein and cholesterol in the circulating blood
any of various disorders of lipoprotein and cholesterol metabolism that result in low levels of lipoprotein and cholesterol in the circulating blood
sleep apnea
apnea that occurs during sleep
anxiety disorder
a cover term for a variety of mental disorders in which severe anxiety is a salient symptom
psychosomatic disorder
a mental disorder that causes somatic symptoms
a disorder in one's mental state
conversion disorder, conversion hysteria, conversion reaction
a mental disorder characterized by the conversion of mental conflict into somatic forms (into paralysis or anesthesia having no apparent cause)
a usually brief state of excitement and mental confusion often accompanied by hallucinations
delusional disorder
any mental disorder in which delusions play a significant role
involuntary defecation not attributable to physical defects or illness
folie a deux
the simultaneous occurrence of symptoms of a mental disorder (as delusions) in two persons who are closely related (as siblings or man and wife)
personality disorder
inflexible and maladaptive patterns of behavior
affective disorder, emotional disorder, emotional disturbance, major affective disorder
any mental disorder not caused by detectable organic abnormalities of the brain and in which a major disturbance of emotions is predominant
resembling schizophrenia but remaining within the bounds of normality
neurosis, neuroticism, psychoneurosis
a mental or personality disturbance not attributable to any known neurological or organic dysfunction
aphonia, voicelessness
a disorder of the vocal organs that results in the loss of voice
flaccid bladder
a urinary bladder disorder resulting from interruption of the reflex arc normally associated with voiding urine; absence of bladder sensation and over-filling of the bladder and inability to urinate voluntarily
neurogenic bladder
a urinary bladder disorder caused by a lesion in the nervous system
spastic bladder
a urinary bladder disorder resulting from spinal cord lesion or multiple sclerosis or trauma; absence of bladder sensation and incontinence and interrupted voiding of urine
a speech disorder in which the same word is repeated several times in succession
impaired articulatory ability resulting from defects in the peripheral motor nerves or in the speech musculature
impaired ability to express ideas verbally; usually resulting from difficulties of reasoning (as in feeblemindedness or certain psychoses)
speech disorder attributable to a disorder of phonation
defective articulation of the `l' phoneme or the phoneme `r' is pronounced as `l'
speech defect involving excessive use or unusual pronunciation of the phoneme `l'
a speech defect that involves pronouncing `s' like voiceless `th' and `z' like voiced `th'
stammer, stutter
a speech disorder involving hesitations and involuntary repetitions of certain sounds
dissociative disorder
dissociation so severe that the usually integrated functions of consciousness and perception of self break down
Type of:
physical condition, physiological condition, physiological state
the condition or state of the body or bodily functions

n the act of disturbing the mind or body

“his carelessness could have caused an ecological upset
derangement, overthrow
Type of:
the act of disturbing something or someone; setting something in motion

adj afflicted with or marked by anxious uneasiness or trouble or grief

“too upset to say anything”
disquieted, distressed, disturbed, worried
characterized by or indicative of distress or affliction or danger or need

adj mildly physically distressed

“an upset stomach”
ill, sick
affected by an impairment of normal physical or mental function

v cause to overturn from an upright or normal position

bowl over, knock over, overturn, tip over, tump over, turn over
overturn, tip over, tump over, turn over
turn from an upright or normal position
Type of:
displace, move
cause to move or shift into a new position or place, both in a concrete and in an abstract sense

v disturb the balance or stability of

“The hostile talks upset the peaceful relations between the two countries”
Type of:
disturb, touch
tamper with

n the act of upsetting something

“he was badly bruised by the upset of his sled at a high speed”
overturn, turnover
Type of:
inversion, upending
turning upside down; setting on end

adj having been turned so that the bottom is no longer the bottom

“the upset pitcher of milk”
overturned, upturned
moved around an axis or center

adj thrown into a state of disarray or confusion

“with everything so upset
broken, confused, disordered
disorganised, disorganized
lacking order or methodical arrangement or function

v defeat suddenly and unexpectedly

“The foreign team upset the local team”
Type of:
defeat, get the better of, overcome
win a victory over

n an improbable and unexpected victory

“the biggest upset since David beat Goliath”
Type of:
an attainment that is successful

adj used of an unexpected defeat of a team favored to win

“the Bills' upset victory over the Houston Oilers”
not expected or anticipated

v form metals with a swage

Type of:
forge, form, mold, mould, shape, work
make something, usually for a specific function

n a tool used to thicken or spread metal (the end of a bar or a rivet etc.) by forging or hammering or swaging

Type of:
an implement used in the practice of a vocation

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