1510s, "act of rearing a young person," from up (adv.) + bringing (see bring (v.)). Mainly in Scottish in 16c.; in general use from c. 1870, according to OED. A verb upbring (past participle upbrought) was in Middle English in a sense "raise, rear, bring up, nurture" (c. 1300), but in Middle English upbringing is attested only as "act of introducing" (c. 1400).