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upset the applecart

To ruin or interfere with one's plans or goals. Look, he's not trying to upset the applecart—he just needs to meet later in the day now, that's all.
See also: applecart, upset

I don't want to alarm you, but

 and I don't want to upset you, but
an expression used to introduce bad or shocking news or gossip. Bill: I don't want to alarm you, but I see someone prowling around your car. Mary: Oh, goodness! I'll call the police! Bob: I don't want to upset you, but I have some bad news. Tom: Let me have it.
See also: alarm, but, want

upset someone's plans

Fig. to ruin someone's plans. I hope it doesn't upset your plans if I'm late for the meeting. No, it won't upset my plans at all.
See also: plan, upset

upset the apple cart

Fig. to mess up or ruin something. Tom really upset the apple cart by telling Mary the truth about Jane. I always knew he'd tell secrets and upset the apple cart.
See also: apple, cart, upset

upset the applecart

Spoil carefully laid plans, as in Now don't upset the applecart by revealing where we're going. This expression started out as upset the cart, used since Roman times to mean "spoil everything." The precise idiom dates from the late 1700s.
See also: applecart, upset

upset the applecart

If someone or something upsets the applecart, they do something which causes trouble or which spoils a satisfactory situation. It will only upset the applecart and confuse the issue if the topic is raised too soon. Note: You can also say that someone or something overturns the applecart. She still has the power to overturn the applecart by the sheer force of her personality and vocabulary.
See also: applecart, upset

upset the apple cart

wreck an advantageous project or disturb the status quo.
The use of a cart piled high with apples as a metaphor for a satisfactory but possibly precarious state of affairs is recorded in various expressions from the late 18th century onwards.
1996 Business Age The real test will be instability in China…Another Tiananmen Square could really upset the apple cart.
See also: apple, cart, upset

upset the/somebody’s ˈapple cart

(informal) do something that spoils a plan or stops the progress of something: Another, much cheaper hairdresser has opened next door, which has upset the apple cart.
See also: apple, cart, upset
References in classic literature ?
As soon as the jury had a little recovered from the shock of being upset, and their slates and pencils had been found and handed back to them, they set to work very diligently to write out a history of the accident, all except the Lizard, who seemed too much overcome to do anything but sit with its mouth open, gazing up into the roof of the court.
It is all exactly as you state it," said the canon; to which Don Quixote returned, "You also went on to say that books of this kind had done me much harm, inasmuch as they had upset my senses, and shut me up in a cage, and that it would be better for me to reform and change my studies, and read other truer books which would afford more pleasure and instruction.
And if it be wanted, then, perhaps, if I am ready, poor Jonathan may not be upset, for I can speak for him and never let him be troubled or worried with it at all.
Perhaps it was reading the journal yesterday that upset me, and then Jonathan went away this morning to stay away from me a whole day and night, the first time we have been parted since our marriage.
We are now on the sea, at night, without any pilot, in a frail bark; should a blast of wind upset the boat we are lost.
When Cecil brought the Emersons to Summer Street, it had upset her nerves.
So away she went for it: but she managed to set it down just upon the great jug full of beer, and upset it; and thus all the ale that had been saved was set swimming on the floor also.
It quite upset Tom--it seemed taking one's shop so lightly; but most of the neighbours, and all the sporting ones, approved of it as being very good indeed.
You will find the boat easier to pull then, and it will not be so liable to upset, and it will not matter so much if it does upset; good, plain merchandise will stand water.
The countess was upset by her friend's sorrow and humiliating poverty, and was therefore out of sorts, a state of mind which with her always found expression in calling her maid "my dear" and speaking to her with exaggerated politeness.
MY dear sir," said the editor to the man, who had called to see about his poem, "I regret to say that owing to an unfortunate altercation in this office the greater part of your manuscript is illegible; a bottle of ink was upset upon it, blotting out all but the first line - that is to say - "
Of course I won't; but anyone would be upset at the idea of being well troubled in this way.
Well, I have half a mind to upset you in the canal.
I am very much upset at a piece of news that concerns Meg, and do not want to face her, and I am not going back to Wickham Place.
You want to upset me, to upset yourself, to upset Glyde, and to upset Laura; and--oh, dear me