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90s Slang You Should Know


or backstair

[bak-stairz] /ˈbækˈstɛərz/
associated or originating with household servants.
secret, underhanded, or scandalous:
backstairs gossip.
Origin of backstairs
First recorded in 1635-45; adj. use of back stairs Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for backstairs
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • But I hope one of the results of this war will be the end of backstairs diplomacy.

    Face to Face with Kaiserism James W. Gerard
  • "That's truth enough," said an asthmatic voice from the backstairs.

    The Manxman Hall Caine
  • At that moment, Mary Ellen, having heard the voice of her mistress, projected her face above the doorsill of the backstairs.

    Explorers of the Dawn Mazo de la Roche
  • We will go to my room by the backstairs, then we sha'n't disturb anybody.

    Unlucky Caroline Austin
  • Jewel found the backstairs and ascended them, her little heart hot within her.

    Jewel Clara Louise Burnham
  • He wasn't groom of the backstairs to England's queen for nothing.

    The Lion and The Mouse Charles Klein
  • The backstairs one would not choose; but what other way was there?

    The Lady of Lynn Walter Besant
  • Verus was no schemer; he walked in at the front door with a free and careless step, and scorned to climb the backstairs.

    The Emperor, Complete Georg Ebers
  • But where, oh, where was the exiled Phelan when the bogus Gladwin went on his backstairs investigation?

    Officer 666 Barton W. Currie
British Dictionary definitions for backstairs


plural noun
a secondary staircase in a house, esp one originally for the use of servants
underhand: backstairs gossip
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for backstairs

"stairs at the back of a structure," 1650s, from back (adj.) + stairs (see stair). Figurative use is attested earlier (1640s).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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