Origin of upstage

First recorded in 1905–10; up- + stage
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for upstaging


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Contemporary Examples of upstaging

British Dictionary definitions for upstaging



on, at, or to the rear of the stage


of or relating to the back half of the stage
informal haughty; supercilious; aloof

verb (tr)

to move upstage of (another actor), thus forcing him to turn away from the audience
informal to draw attention to oneself from (someone else); steal the show from (someone)
informal to treat haughtily


the back half of the stage
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 upstaging


1918 (adj.), 1921 (v.); the notion is of drawing attention to oneself (and away from a fellow actor) by moving upstage -- to the rear of the stage -- so that the other actor must face away from the audience. The noun upstage "back of the stage" is recorded from 1870.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper