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[uhp-stairz] /ˈʌpˈstɛərz/
up the stairs; to or on an upper floor.
Informal. in the mind:
to be a little weak upstairs.
to or at a higher level of authority:
You may have to take the matter upstairs.
Military Slang. at or to a higher level in the air.
Also, upstair. of, relating to, or situated on an upper floor:
an upstairs window; an upstairs apartment.
noun, plural upstairs.
(usually used with a singular verb) an upper story or stories; the part of a building or house that is above the ground floor:
The upstairs of this house is entirely rented.
a higher command or level of authority:
We can't take action till we have approval from upstairs.
kick upstairs, to promote (a person) to a higher position, usually having less authority, in order to be rid of him or her.
Origin of upstairs
1590-1600; up- + stairs Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for upstairs
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Everybody who knew what had been going on upstairs was there.

    The Cosmic Computer Henry Beam Piper
  • I heard a shout from Gadsby upstairs: 'We have beaten them off—good boys all!'

  • upstairs every one had gone to bed, and they had not even left us a light.

    Glories of Spain Charles W. Wood
  • I took him upstairs, meaning to show him his bedroom and take my own things out of it.

    They and I Jerome K. Jerome
  • Come, give that child to me, and you go on upstairs and get washed up.

    The Fifth Wheel Olive Higgins Prouty
British Dictionary definitions for upstairs


up the stairs; to or on an upper floor or level
(informal) to or into a higher rank or office
(informal) in the mind: a little weak upstairs
(informal) kick upstairs, to promote to a higher rank or position, esp one that carries less power
noun (functioning as singular or pl)
  1. an upper floor or level
  2. (as modifier): an upstairs room
(Brit, informal, old-fashioned) the masters and mistresses of a household collectively, esp of a large house Compare downstairs (sense 3)
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 upstairs

1590s (adj.), from up + stairs (see stair). The noun is first attested 1872. Meaning "characteristic of upstairs life" (in private rooms of a household, as opposed to servants' quarters) is recorded from 1942.

He [Halifax] had said he had known many kicked down stairs, but he never knew any kicked up stairs before. [Gilbert Burnet, supplement to "History of My own Time," from his original memoirs, c.1697]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for upstairs



In the brain; mentally: became a little balmy upstairs (1932+)

Related Terms

kick someone upstairs, the man upstairs

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with upstairs


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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