View synonyms for above


[ uh-buhv ]


  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: Compare below ( def 6 ).

    the remark quoted above.

  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:

    The program is open to all girls above six years of age.

    The weight is above a ton.

  3. superior in rank, authority, or standing to:

    A captain is above a lieutenant.

  4. beyond the reach of or exempted from (dishonorable thoughts or deeds), especially in the eyes of others:

    So scrupulously had she maintained her reputation that she was above suspicion.

    As professional adults, we ought to be above bad behavior.

  5. too honorable a character; too good for:

    He refused to participate, being 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.


/ əˈbʌv /


  1. on top of or higher than; over

    the sky above the earth

  2. greater than in quantity or degree

    above average in weight

  3. superior to or prior to

    to place honour above wealth

  4. too honourable or high-minded for

    above petty gossiping

  5. too respected for; beyond

    above suspicion

    above reproach

  6. too difficult to be understood by

    the talk was above me

  7. louder or higher than (other noise)

    I heard her call above the radio

  8. in preference to

    I love you above all others

  9. north of

    which 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 place

    the 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 heaven

    seek 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)

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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.

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Word History and Origins

Origin of above1

First recorded before 900; Middle English above(n), abufe(n), Old English abufan, onbufan, equivalent to b(e) by + ufan, cognate with Old Frisian uva, Old Saxon oban(a), Old High German obana, German oben, Old Norse ofan; “above”; akin to over ); up

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Word History and Origins

Origin of above1

Old English abufan, from a- on + bufan above

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Idioms and Phrases

  1. above all. above all.

More idioms and phrases containing above

  • all (none) of the above
  • cut above
  • head and shoulders above
  • over and above

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Example Sentences

Hovering above the scene, commandos in helicopters were poised with automatic rifles.

Even the hot Jewish women I mentioned above did something a bit more “intellectual” than pageantry: acting.

Are you excited, nervous, afraid, all of the above for the new Star Wars films?

I fall back into a dream and then suddenly there is a tapping on the window just above my bed.

He was born in an apartment above the grocery store owned by his immigrant parents in South Jamaica, Queens.

It contains above eighty thousand houses, and about six hundred thousand inhabitants.

He didn't need to wait—as the birds did—until an angleworm stuck his head above ground.

It is then we make him our friend, which sets us above the envy and contempt of wicked men.

We had now approached closely to the foot of the mountain-ranges, and their lofty summits were high above us in mid-air.

Above all, he was amazed to hear me talk of a mercenary standing army in the midst of peace and among a free people.


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Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

Idioms from The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.




about turnabove all