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upper story

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The head or brain, as in He's not all there in the upper story. This expression transfers the literal sense of a higher floor in a multistory building to the top portion of the human body. Richard Bentley used it in A Dissertation on the Epistles of Phalaris (1699), where he compares a man with “brains ... in his head” to a man who has “furniture in his upper story.”

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

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