Etymology
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upbeat (adj.)

"with a positive mood," 1947, apparently from on the upbeat "improving, getting better," attested from 1934 and a favorite of Billboard magazine headline-writers in the early 1940s, from the musical noun upbeat (1869), referring to the beat of a bar at which the conductor's baton is in a raised position; from up (adv.) + beat (n.). The "optimistic" sense apparently for no other reason than that it sounds like a happy word (the musical upbeat is no more inherently "positive" than any other beat).

updated on August 17, 2020

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Definitions of upbeat from WordNet
1
upbeat (n.)
a contented state of being happy and healthy and prosperous;
the town was finally on the upbeat after our recent troubles
Synonyms: wellbeing / well-being / welfare / eudaemonia / eudaimonia
upbeat (n.)
an unaccented beat (especially the last beat of a measure);
Synonyms: offbeat
2
upbeat (adj.)
pleasantly (even unrealistically) optimistic;
Synonyms: cheerful / pollyannaish
Etymologies are not definitions. From wordnet.princeton.edu, not affiliated with etymonline.