kick ass, Slang: Vulgar.
    1. to act harshly or use force in order to gain a desired result.
    2. to defeat soundly.
    Also Slang, kick butt.
    kick in the ass, Slang: Vulgar. kick(def 35a).
    kick in the pants, Informal.
    1. someone or something that is very exciting, enjoyable, amusing, etc.: I think you'll like her, she's a real kick in the pants.
    2. kick(def 36).
    kick in the teeth, an abrupt, often humiliating setback; rebuff: Her refusal even to talk to me was a kick in the teeth.
    kick over the traces. trace2(def 3).
    kick the bucket, Slang. bucket(def 15).
    kick the tin, Australian. to give a donation; contribute.
    kick upstairs. upstairs(def 8).

Origin of kick

1350–1400; Middle English kiken (v.); origin uncertain
Related formskick·a·ble, adjectivekick·less, adjectiveout·kick, verb (used with object)o·ver·kick, verb (used with object)

Synonyms for kick




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 up·stair. of, relating to, or situated on an upper floor: an upstairs window; an upstairs apartment.

noun, plural up·stairs.

(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.

Origin of upstairs

1590–1600; up- + stairs Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for kick upstairs

kick upstairs


(tr, adverb) informal to promote to a nominally higher but effectively powerless position



(tr) to drive or impel with the foot
(tr) to hit with the foot or feet
(intr) to strike out or thrash about with the feet, as in fighting or swimming
(intr) to raise a leg high, as in dancing
(of a gun, etc) to recoil or strike in recoiling when fired
(tr) rugby
  1. to make (a conversion or a drop goal) by means of a kick
  2. to score (a goal) by means of a kicked conversion
(tr) soccer to score (a goal) by a kick
(intr) athletics to put on a sudden spurt
(intr) to make a sudden violent movement
(intr) cricket (of a ball) to rear up sharply
(intr sometimes foll by against) informal to object or resist
(intr) informal to be active and in good health (esp in the phrase alive and kicking)
informal to change gear in (a car, esp a racing car)he kicked into third and passed the bigger car
(tr) informal to free oneself of (an addiction, etc)to kick heroin; to kick the habit
kick against the pricks See prick (def. 20)
kick into touch
  1. rugby soccerto kick the ball out of the playing area and into touchSee touch (def. 15)
  2. informalto take some temporizing action so that a problem is shelved or a decision postponed
kick one's heels to wait or be kept waiting
kick over the traces See trace 2 (def. 3)
kick the bucket slang to die
kick up one's heels informal to enjoy oneself without inhibition


a thrust or blow with the foot
any of certain rhythmic leg movements used in swimming
the recoil of a gun or other firearm
informal a stimulating or exciting quality or effect (esp in the phrases get a kick out of or for kicks)
athletics a sudden spurt, acceleration, or boost
a sudden violent movement
informal the sudden stimulating or intoxicating effect of strong alcoholic drink or certain drugs
informal power or force
slang a temporary enthusiasmhe's on a new kick every week
kick in the pants slang
  1. a reprimand or scolding designed to produce greater effort, enthusiasm, etc, in the person receiving it
  2. a setback or disappointment
kick in the teeth slang a humiliating rebuff
Derived Formskickable, adjective

Word Origin for kick

C14 kiken, perhaps of Scandinavian origin



up the stairs; to or on an upper floor or level
informal to or into a higher rank or office
informal in the minda little weak upstairs
kick upstairs informal to promote to a higher rank or position, esp one that carries less power

noun (functioning as singular or plural)

  1. an upper floor or level
  2. (as modifier)an upstairs room
British informal, old-fashioned the masters and mistresses of a household collectively, esp of a large houseCompare downstairs (def. 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

Word Origin and History for kick upstairs



late 14c., "to strike out with the foot" (earliest in biblical phrase now usually rendered as kick against the pricks), of uncertain origin, perhaps from Old Norse kikna "bend backwards, sink at the knees." "The doubts OED has about the Scandinavian origin of kick are probably unfounded" [Liberman]. Related: Kicked; kicking.

Figurative sense of "complain, protest, rebel against" (late 14c.) probably is from the Bible verse. Slang sense of "die" is attested from 1725 (kick the wind was slang for "be hanged," 1590s; see also bucket). Meaning "to end one's drug habit" is from 1936. Kick in "contribute" is from 1908; kick out "expel" is from 1690s. To kick oneself in self-reproach is from 1891. The children's game of kick the can is attested from 1891.


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]



1520s, from kick (v.). Meaning "recoil (of a gun) when fired" is from 1826. Meaning "surge or fit of pleasure" (often as kicks) is from 1941; originally literally, "stimulation from liquor or drugs" (1844). The kick "the fashion" is c.1700.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with kick upstairs

kick upstairs

Promote someone to a higher but less desirable position, especially one with less authority. For example, Paul never forgave the company for kicking him upstairs at age 55. This expression alludes to its antonym, kick downstairs, simply meaning “eject.” [Mid-1900s]


In addition to the idioms beginning with kick

  • kick a habit
  • kick around
  • kick ass
  • kick back
  • kick in
  • kick in the pants, a
  • kick it
  • kick off
  • kick oneself
  • kick out
  • kick over the traces
  • kick the bucket
  • kick the habit
  • kick up
  • kick up a fuss
  • kick up one's heels
  • kick upstairs

also see:

  • alive and kicking
  • for fun (kicks)
  • get a bang (kick) out of


see kick upstairs.

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