in, at, or to a higher place.
overhead, upstairs, or in the sky: My brother lives in the apartment above. A flock of birds circled above.
higher in rank, authority, or power: She was told to speak to the person above.
higher in quantity or number: books with 100 pages and above.
before or earlier, especially in a book or other piece of writing; foregoing: the remark quoted above. Compare below ( def 6 ).
in or to heaven: gone to her eternal rest above.
Zoology. on the upper or dorsal side.
Theater. upstage. Compare below ( def 9 ).
higher than zero on the temperature scale: The temperature dropped to ten above this morning.
in or to a higher place than; over: to fly above the clouds; the floor above ours.
more in quantity or number than; in excess of: all girls above 12 years of age; The weight is above a ton.
superior in rank, authority, or standing to: A captain is above a lieutenant.
not subject or liable to; not capable of (some undesirable action, thought, etc.): above suspicion; to be above bad behavior.
of too fine a character for: He is above such trickery.
rather than; in preference to: to favor one child above the other.
beyond, especially north of: six miles above Baltimore.
Theater. upstage of.
said, mentioned, or written above; foregoing: the above explanation.
something that was said, mentioned, or written above: to refer to the above.
the person or persons previously indicated: The above will all stand trial.
heaven: truly a gift from above.
a higher authority: an order from above.
above all, most important of all; principally: charity above all.

before 900; Middle English above(n) (Cf. aboon), Old English abufan, onbufan (a-1, on + bufan above (cognate with Dutch boven), equivalent to b(e) by + ufan, cognate with Old Frisian uva, Old Saxon oban(a), Old High German obana, German oben, Old Norse ofan above; akin to over); see up; cf. about for formation

Above as an adjective (the above data) or as a noun (study the above) referring to what has been mentioned earlier in a piece of writing has long been standard. A few critics object to these uses in general writing, believing that they are more appropriate in business or technical contexts; they occur, however, in all kinds of edited writing.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
above (əˈbʌv)
1.  on top of or higher than; over: the sky above the earth
2.  greater than in quantity or degree: above average in weight
3.  superior to or prior to: to place honour above wealth
4.  too honourable or high-minded for: above petty gossiping
5.  too respected for; beyond: above suspicion; above reproach
6.  too difficult to be understood by: the talk was above me
7.  louder or higher than (other noise): I heard her call above the radio
8.  in preference to: I love you above all others
9.  north of: which town lies just above London?
10.  upstream from
11.  above all most of all; especially
12.  above and beyond in addition to
13.  above oneself presumptuous or conceited
14.  in or to a higher place: the sky above
15.  a.  in a previous place (in something written)
 b.  (in combination): the above-mentioned clause
16.  higher in rank or position
17.  in or concerned with heaven: seek the things that are above
18.  the above something that is above or previously mentioned
19.  mentioned or appearing in a previous place (in something written)
[Old English abufan, from a- on + bufan above]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

O.E. abufan, from on "on" + bufan "over," compound of be "by" + ufan "over/high," from P.Gmc. *ufan-, *uban-. Meaning "in addition" first recorded 1590s.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


In addition to the idioms beginning with above, also see all (none) of the above; cut above; head and shoulders above; over and above.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
And a considerable amount of public money will be invested in making all of the above happen.
Cool a gas of rubidium atoms to one-hundred-millionth of a degree above absolute zero or less and something strange happens.
If the epicentre is on the seabed, that also lifts the water above the bed,
  creating a wave.
Each of the three fast-moving storms shown above was photographed at two-minute
  intervals by the space probe.
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