Origin of upright

before 900; Middle English, Old English upriht (cognate with German aufrecht). See up, right
Related formsup·right·ly, adverbup·right·ness, nounnon·up·right, adjective, nounnon·up·right·ly, adverbnon·up·right·ness, noun

Synonyms for upright

1. plumb. Upright, erect, vertical, perpendicular imply that something is in the posture of being straight upward, not leaning. That which is upright is in a position corresponding to that of a person standing up: a decaying tree no longer standing upright; an upright piano. Erect emphasizes the straightness of position or posture: proud and erect; A flagpole stands erect. Vertical suggests upward direction, especially along the shortest line from the earth to a level above it: the vertical edge of a door; ornamented by vertical lines. Perpendicular, a term frequently interchangeable with vertical, is used especially in mathematics: the perpendicular side of a right triangle; to erect a perpendicular line from the base of a figure. 3. honorable. 6. pole, prop, pier, pile, column.

Antonyms for upright

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

Related Words for uprightness

virtue, integrity, honor, honesty, perpendicularity, verticality

Examples from the Web for uprightness

Historical Examples of uprightness

  • There is a truthfulness in action as well as in words, which is essential to uprightness of character.


    Samuel Smiles

  • That he did this shows the great trust which he placed in their uprightness.

    The Formation of Christendom, Volume VI

    Thomas W. (Thomas William) Allies

  • I knew him; he was not a genius, but he had at least a great deal of uprightness and energy.

    Doctor Pascal

    Emile Zola

  • Cornwood was smart, if he was nothing else in the way of honesty and uprightness.

    Up the River

    Oliver Optic

  • You could see that he spoke with earnestness and from the uprightness of his soul.

British Dictionary definitions for uprightness



vertical or erect
honest, honourable, or just




a vertical support, such as a stake or post
short for upright piano
the state of being vertical


(tr) to make upright
Derived Formsuprightly, adverbuprightness, noun
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 uprightness


Old English upriht, from up "up" + riht "right." Similar compounds are found in other Germanic languages (cf. Old Frisian upriucht, Middle Dutch oprecht, Old High German ufreht, German aufrecht, Old Norse uprettr). Figurative sense of "good, honest" is first attested 1520s. The noun in the sense of "something standing erect" is from 1742.

THREE-PENNY UPRIGHT. A retailer of love, who, for the sum mentioned, dispenses her favours standing against a wall. ["Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue," 1811]

The bent-over rear-entry posture they are talking about, of course, is kubda, the three-obol position at the bottom-end of a prostitute's price-range. [James N. Davidson, "Courtesans and Fishcakes: The Consuming Passions of Classical Athens," 1997]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with uprightness


see bolt upright.

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