"upset" redux

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Sat Jul 6 18:19:29 UTC 2013

At 7/6/2013 12:32 AM, Ben Zimmer wrote:
>I didn't manage to antedate George's 1877 cite of "upset" used as a
>noun, but I
>did find relevant horse-racing cites for the verb going back another couple of
>decades. I believe these match the "defeat unexpectedly" meaning rather than
>describing horses literally toppling over, or figuratively upsetting
>calculations or expectations.
>1857 _Spirit of the Times_ 5 Sept. 355/1 At the York August meeting,
>there were
>only four runners for the Chesterfield Handicap of 208 sovs., one
>mile, and the
>favorite, Ellermire, 5 yrs., 7st. 121b., was upset by the Dipthong
>colt, 3 yrs.
>6st. 2lb.

And horse racing is not wrestling, where one contestant might be
upset by the other.  The "by" seems definitive.


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