See more synonyms for above on Thesaurus.com
  1. in, at, or to a higher place.
  2. overhead, upstairs, or in the sky: My brother lives in the apartment above. A flock of birds circled above.
  3. higher in rank, authority, or power: She was told to speak to the person above.
  4. higher in quantity or number: books with 100 pages and above.
  5. before or earlier, especially in a book or other piece of writing; foregoing: the remark quoted above.Compare below(def 6).
  6. in or to heaven: gone to her eternal rest above.
  7. Zoology. on the upper or dorsal side.
  8. Theater. upstage.Compare below(def 9).
  9. higher than zero on the temperature scale: The temperature dropped to ten above this morning.
  1. in or to a higher place than; over: to fly above the clouds; the floor above ours.
  2. more in quantity or number than; in excess of: all girls above 12 years of age; The weight is above a ton.
  3. superior in rank, authority, or standing to: A captain is above a lieutenant.
  4. not subject or liable to; not capable of (some undesirable action, thought, etc.): above suspicion; to be above bad behavior.
  5. of too fine a character for: He is above such trickery.
  6. rather than; in preference to: to favor one child above the other.
  7. beyond, especially north of: six miles above Baltimore.
  8. Theater. upstage of.
  1. said, mentioned, or written above; foregoing: the above explanation.
  1. something that was said, mentioned, or written above: to refer to the above.
  2. the person or persons previously indicated: The above will all stand trial.
  3. heaven: truly a gift from above.
  4. a higher authority: an order from above.
  1. above all, most important of all; principally: charity above all.

Origin of above

before 900; Middle English above(n) (Cf. aboon), Old English abufan, onbufan (a-1, on + bufan above (cognate with Dutch boven), equivalent to b(e) by1 + ufan, cognate with Old Frisian uva, Old Saxon oban(a), Old High German obana, German oben, Old Norse ofan above; akin to over); see up; cf. about for formation

Usage note

Above as an adjective ( the above data ) or as a noun ( study the above ) referring to what has been mentioned earlier in a piece of writing has long been standard. A few critics object to these uses in general writing, believing that they are more appropriate in business or technical contexts; they occur, however, in all kinds of edited writing.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for above

Contemporary Examples of above

Historical Examples of above

  • Had Mrs. Bines been above talking to low people, a catastrophe might have been averted.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • Above, below, the rose of snow, Twined with her blushing foe we spread.

    The Armourer's Prentices

    Charlotte M. Yonge

  • Since I wrote the above, I ventured to send a letter by Shorey to my mother.

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

  • I said above, that I never can be, that I never ought to be, Mrs. Solmes.

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

  • So there is full proof, that she came not from above all at once an angel!

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

British Dictionary definitions for above


  1. on top of or higher than; overthe sky above the earth
  2. greater than in quantity or degreeabove average in weight
  3. superior to or prior toto place honour above wealth
  4. too honourable or high-minded forabove petty gossiping
  5. too respected for; beyondabove suspicion; above reproach
  6. too difficult to be understood bythe talk was above me
  7. louder or higher than (other noise)I heard her call above the radio
  8. in preference toI love you above all others
  9. north ofwhich town lies just above London?
  10. upstream from
  11. above all most of all; especially
  12. above and beyond in addition to
  13. above oneself presumptuous or conceited
  1. in or to a higher placethe sky above
    1. in a previous place (in something written)
    2. (in combination)the above-mentioned clause
  2. higher in rank or position
  3. in or concerned with heavenseek the things that are above
  1. the above something that is above or previously mentioned
  1. mentioned or appearing in a previous place (in something written)

Word Origin for above

Old English abufan, from a- on + bufan above
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

Word Origin and History for above

Old English abufan, earlier onbufan, from on (see on) + bufan "over," compound of be "by" (see by) + ufan "over/high," from Proto-Germanic *ufan-, *uban- (cf. Old Saxon, Old High German oban, German oben), from PIE root *upo (see up (adv.)). Meaning "in addition" first corded 1590s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with above


In addition to the idioms beginning with above

  • above all
  • above and beyond
  • above suspicion
  • above the law

also see:

  • all (none) of the above
  • cut above
  • head and shoulders above
  • over and above
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.