• synonyms


  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.
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  1. Also up·stair. of, relating to, or situated on an upper floor: an upstairs window; an upstairs apartment.
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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.
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  1. kick upstairs, to promote (a person) to a higher position, usually having less authority, in order to be rid of him or her.
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Origin of upstairs

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

Examples from the Web for upstair

Historical Examples of upstair

  • She often disappears all day long—still, she may be in the upstair rooms.'

    Abbe Mouret's Transgression

    Emile Zola

  • The upstair rooms are better furnished, and the beds often really good.

    The Toilers of the Field

    Richard Jefferies

  • "I have been looking at the upstair rooms at home," said Clarence.

    Beth Woodburn

    Maud Petitt

  • Madame Nancanou an' heh daughtah livin' upstair an' rissy-ving de finess soci'ty in de Province!

    The Grandissimes

    George Washington Cable

  • They were carried back to the plantation and the mother was mildly punished and imprisoned in an upstair room.

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
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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)
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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]
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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with upstair


see kick upstairs.

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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.