The Meaning of Upend: What It Is and How To Use It

Have you ever wondered what the word upend means? This article will give you all of the knowledge you need on the word upend, including its definition, etymology, synonyms, sentence usage, and more!

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What is the definition of upend?

According to Merriam-Webster Unabridged English Dictionary and other dictionary apps, the word upend, pronounced “ʌpˈɛnd” is a transitive verb with two different definitions. The first definition is to set or stand on end, to overturn or invert. The second definition is to affect to the point of upset, or to defeat or beat. The word upend is a verb, which means it is an action word. Variants on the word upend include upended, upending, and upends.  

The word upend is also present in many other languages, from Arabic to French to a plethora of others. The below list of translations for the word upend is provided by Word Sense

  • Dutch: omkiepen‎
  • German: umkippen‎
  • Swedish: vända på‎, vända‎, vända upp och ned på‎, välta omkull‎
  • Spanish: dar vuelta‎ (fem.), voltear‎
  • Finnish: kääntää ympäri‎
  • Russian: переворачивать‎, опрокидывать‎

What is the etymology of the word upend?

According to Etymonline, the word upend is a compound word made up of the words up and end. The word upend has been used since 1823.

The word up comes from the Old English up or uppe, from the same Proto-Germanic prefix. This word has been used as a preposition since the year 1500, and is used in a plethora of different English words and phrases, according to Etymonline.

The word end is also Old English in origin according to Etymonline. The word end comes from the Old English ende, from the Proto-Germanic word andiaz, which also birthed the Old Frisian enda, Old Dutch ende, Dutch einde, and Old Norse endir, amongst others. This comes from the root ant, meaning front or forehead.

How can the word upend be used in a sentence?

The word upend can be used in a variety of different ways. In this first example, the word upend will be used to mean to affect to the point of upset. Portuguese Lisa is talking to her coworker Haley about her plans for her wedding. 

Haley: I thought you guys were supposed to get married last fall?

Lisa: We were, but the pandemic really upended our plans. We had a huge wedding planned that all of our friends and family were going to be there, but coronavirus meant we had to audible and switch it to a zoom wedding. My mom and dad were supposed to fly in from Portugal, same with all my aunts, uncles, and cousins.

Haley: That’s so frustrating. I wish you guys were in a normal position.

Lisa: Trust me, I do too!

Haley: I read in the Washington Post that thousands of weddings are getting changed to Zoom all around the world. 

Lisa: Wow.

In this next example, the word upend is used to mean to turn upside down. Lisa and Haley are talking about the construction across the street from Lisa’s house.

Haley: Didn’t there used to be a cute little corner store there? I remember getting sodas there all the time before coming to your house.

Lisa: Yeah, there was.They completely upended it to  build a corporate convenience store. It’s such a shame, I loved that place. The owner was so nice. 

Haley: That’s a bummer.

What are synonyms and antonyms for the word upend?

Since the word upend has two different definitions, this means that it has two possible sets of synonyms. Synonyms are words and phrases that have the same meaning as a given word or phrase. First, the word upend can mean to invert. Below is a list of synonyms for the meaning invert, which is provided by Thesaurus.

  • turn inside out
  • convert
  • turn down
  • change
  • turn
  • capsize
  • modify
  • turn the tables
  • inverse
  • renege
  • overturn
  • tip
  • flip-flop
  • invert
  • upset
  • flip
  • revert
  • transplace
  • double back
  • evert
  • alter
  • upturn
  • turn over
  • transpose
  • backtrack
  • introvert

The word upend can also mean to updet. The below list of synonyms for upset is also provided by Thesaurus.

  • capsize
  • turn inside-out
  • tilt
  • mess up
  • overset
  • unsettle
  • derange
  • turn
  • muddle
  • change
  • spoil
  • disturb
  • mix up
  • keel over
  • reverse
  • invert
  • overturn
  • turn upside-down
  • jumble
  • upturn
  • turn topsy-turvy
  • topple
  • put out of order
  • rummage
  • pitch
  • tumble
  • spill
  • tip over
  • subvert
  • disarray
  • disorganize

What if you wanted to discuss a word with the opposite meaning as the word upend? In this case, you could use an antonym. An antonym is a word or phrase that has the opposite definition as a given word or phrase. This list of antonyms for upend is also provided by Thesaurus

  • stand
  • lodge
  • delay
  • nest
  • hover
  • stay in
  • continue
  • hang
  • persist
  • stop
  • put on hold
  • reside
  • inhabit
  • sit out
  • stay
  • endure
  • stay behind
  • outlast
  • wait
  • pause
  • make camp
  • perch
  • be left
  • squat
  • remain standing
  • cling
  • tarry
  • rest
  • sit tight
  • freeze
  • bivouac
  • remain
  • live
  • visit
  • bide
  • stick around
  • hold over
  • roost
  • halt
  • abide
  • stay over
  • linger
  • hold the fort
  • sojourn
  • sit through
  • wait
  • survive
  • dwell
  • prevail
  • keep on
  • last
  • go on
  • outlive
  • stay put
  • bunk
  • hang out

Overall, the word upend has a couple of different meanings. This transitive verb can mean to overturn, or set or stand on something’s end, or it can mean to upset something or someone, or to defeat or beat them. This word is very popular in the English language and has many synonyms that one can use in its place.