[ uhp-i-tee ]
/ ˈʌp ɪ ti /
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See synonyms for: uppity / uppityness on Thesaurus.com

adjective Informal.
affecting an attitude of inflated self-esteem; haughty; snobbish.
rebelliously self-assertive; not inclined to be tractable or deferential.
Apostrophes can be tricky; prove you know the difference between "it’s" and "its" in this crafty quiz!
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On the farm, the feed for chicks is significantly different from the roosters’; ______ not even comparable.

Origin of uppity

1875–80, Americanism; probably up + -ity, extended form of -y1; cf. pernickety


up·pi·ty·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


More context on uppity

Uppity means “haughty” and “snobbish”—an adjective for someone who puts on airs, someone who is self-important. But, this descriptor has a very racist past, used particularly to disparage Black people as “not remembering their place as inferior.”

Given this explicitly racist past, it is a good idea to cut down on using uppity. Read our next section for some wise alternatives.

If knowing the history of uppity has got you reflecting on your word choices, this slideshow, “These Common Words Have Offensive Histories,” discusses many other words whose place in your vocab you may want to reconsider. 

Keep in mind …

There are plenty of alternatives to the problematic uppity. Besides haughty, snobbish, self-important, and putting on airs as noted above, such words as arrogant, snooty, pompous, smug, vain, and high and mighty can convey being overproud like uppity.

You can find even more synonyms at Thesaurus.com. We suggest you start with the adjective proud.

How to use uppity in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for uppity

/ (ˈʌpɪtɪ) /

adjective informal
not yielding easily to persuasion or control
another word for uppish

Word Origin for uppity

from up + fanciful ending, perhaps influenced by -ity
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