1. up the stairs; to or on an upper floor.
  2. Informal. in the mind: to be a little weak upstairs.
  3. to or at a higher level of authority: You may have to take the matter upstairs.
  4. Military Slang. at or to a higher level in the air.
  1. Also up·stair. of, relating to, or situated on an upper floor: an upstairs window; an upstairs apartment.
noun, plural up·stairs.
  1. (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.
  2. a higher command or level of authority: We can't take action till we have approval from upstairs.
  1. kick upstairs, to promote (a person) to a higher position, usually having less authority, in order to be rid of him or her.

Origin of upstairs

1590–1600; up- + stairs Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for upstair

Historical Examples of upstair

British Dictionary definitions for upstair


  1. up the stairs; to or on an upper floor or level
  2. informal to or into a higher rank or office
  3. informal in the minda little weak upstairs
  4. 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
  1. 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 upstair


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]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with upstair


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.