backstairs

or back·stair

[ bak-stairz ]
/ ˈbækˈstɛərz /

adjective

associated or originating with household servants.
secret, underhanded, or scandalous: backstairs gossip.

Nearby words

  1. backsplash,
  2. backsplice,
  3. backstab,
  4. backstabber,
  5. backstage,
  6. backstay,
  7. backstitch,
  8. backstop,
  9. backstory,
  10. backstrap loom

Origin of backstairs

First recorded in 1635–45; adj. use of back stairs

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for backstairs


British Dictionary definitions for backstairs

backstairs

/ (ˈbækˈstɛəz) /

pl n

a secondary staircase in a house, esp one originally for the use of servants

adjective Also: backstair

underhandbackstairs 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

Word Origin and History for backstairs

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