toward or in the higher part of a stream; against the current.
directed upstream; situated upstream: an upstream journey; an upstream hideout.
Commerce. of or pertaining to the early stages in the operations of a business or industry, as exploration and production in the oil business (opposed to downstream ).
against or opposite to the direction of transcription, translation, or synthesis of a DNA, RNA, or protein molecule.

1675–85; up- + stream Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
upstream (ˈʌpˈstriːm)
adv, —adj
1.  in or towards the higher part of a stream; against the current
2.  Compare downstream (in the oil industry) of or for any of the stages prior to oil production, such as exploration or research

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

1681, from up- + stream. In common use from c.1890.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Computing Dictionary

upstream definition

Fewer network hops away from a backbone or hub. For example, a small ISP that connects to the Internet through a larger ISP that has their own connection to the backbone is downstream from the larger ISP, and the larger ISP is upstream from the smaller ISP.

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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Example sentences
The ability to elaborate learning objectives is at the upstream of promoting
  student confidence.
Starved of water by upstream diversions, heavy with silt, it braids through
  jungles of salt cedar.
In other broadband mediums, the upstream speed can be considerably slower than
Once salmon enter freshwater on their upstream journey, they stop feeding and
  depend on stored energy reserves.
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